Presentations skills and the way you deliver your message are just as critical as what you are talking about in the presentation. Here are the top tips we've collected from the Better Speech therapists to help you improve your speaking skills for the next presentation.
It's not every day that you get to speak in front of a possible client or the head of your department. So, it's important to be able to present your message with your speaking skills as polished as possible. Usually there is only one opportunity to get your message across.
Many adults come to the speech therapists at Better Speech wanting to improve their presentation skills before an important meeting or pitch. So we've put together some of the top tips to help you give the best presentation you can.
Know Your Audience
The message you deliver should always be tailored to the audience you are presenting to, as well as their interests. Some of our clients have been able to send a questionnaire to a sample of people in advance of the presentation to know what to talk about. Susan Lui, a Better Speech therapist, specializes in communication skills for business professionals and has presented hundreds of times. She suggest speaking to the audience before a presentation has started to ask them a bit about what they came to hear. She plans some flexibility into her presentation so that she each time she presents, the talk is tailored to her audience.
Practice but Don't Memorize Lui practices her presentations a month in advance. She also practices in front of a mirror and other colleagues or family who are willing to listen several times. There are also groups such as Toastmasters, which allow people to practice public speaking. Very importantly, Lui also suggests practicing out loud so you can hear how your voice, loudness and other factors might affect the presentation. But she also recommends not memorizing the speech. The audience can pick up on this and the presenter ends up looking too robotic and unapproachable. When you don't memorize you also have the opportunity to tailor the speech to your specific audience's interests.
We wouldn't want to leave you without some quick tricks to make the presentation even better: Go to the Videotape: Record yourself on your smartphone and see what your audience will see. Watching yourself allows you to see where you need to improve.
Trick Your Brain: Getting nervous before the big presentation? Trick your brain by calling it a "conversation" and not a "presentation." Some of our Better Speech clients have even suggested that they imagine giving their speech at home to one family member instead of to a larger audience. And when they are up in front of the crowd, they look for one person that is their imaginary family member.
When we asked Lui what the top issues are that she helps clients with, she mentioned all of the above, and then also listed the aspects of speech therapy that she works on. These are not to be minimized. Not everyone gets nervous in front of an audience but the following are critical to making you feel confident to present:
Our Better Speech Therapists can help people who:
Have difficulty organizing information for a presentation.
Have a nervous feeling creating a ‘nervous voice’.
Find it hard to answer questions appropriately.
Have difficulty using non-verbal communication like eye contact.
At Better Speech we know you deserve speech therapy that works.
We have experts in your needs and assign the right therapist; not just the therapist that happens to be in your area. If you want to find out more about our services, contact us to schedule a free consultation.