It’s time to practice delivering your presentation! Wait a minute…. What is delivery actually?
Delivery is all about how you use your voice and your body to enhance your message and engage your audience. It’s about both verbal and non-verbal communication. Your delivery is the first thing that will grab your audience when you begin your presentation, and it’s what will keep your audience engaged throughout, so it’s of the utmost importance.
Great Delivery consists of:
Every person in your audience wants to feel like an individual, they want to feel important and they should be! Eye contact is not a quick glance at certain people in the room, or just simply throwing your glaze across the audience. It’s making a split second personal connection with each person in the room.
Look at members of your audience and hold the contact for just a moment. You will feel the connection when the person nods or smiles. LOOK and LOCK. This is what making eye contact is. It’s engaging every member of your audience as if you were having a personal conversation.
When we look at a person the first thing we look at is their face. This is because the face, more clearly than any other part of your body, displays your emotions, feeling, and attitude. Some people have naturally expressive faces, others have a flatter expression that will take a little bit more practice to get it convey the right feelings to the audience. All people share seven basic emotional expressions, these are anger, happiness, sadness, interest, fear, contempt, and surprise. Practice expressions and conveying moods in front of the mirror. Remember ALWAYS begin and end your message with a SMILE.
Your hands don’t belong on your hips, in your pockets, clasped together or held behind your back. Your hands are an important communication tool. Use them to help scaffold understanding, emphasize a point, express enthusiasm, and to engage your audience. Every presenter needs to develop a ‘gestural vocabulary’, this is way to explain the meaning of different things using gesture.
Did you know that gesture not only helps to communicate meaning and scaffold understanding, but also helps to release nervous energy?
There are two types of movement, conscious movement and unconscious movement. Unconscious movement is bad, people often do it when they are nervous. They may do things like pace back and forth, sway, or move forwards and backwards. Conscious movement, on the other hand, is a fantastic tool and something every speaker should develop. Conscious movement is positioning yourself in certain places at certain times of your presentation. A conscious walk from one side of the room to the other, will have all eyes on you. Getting away from your presentation screen and in amongst your audience will keep them interested and engaged. Additionally, placing yourself beside distracted or disruptive members of your audience is a great way to manage the room.
So, get out there and work that room!
Volume is how loud or soft your voice is
Know what volume level your voice will need to be in the room you are presenting in. If you speak too softly, your audience will disengage. Speaking too loudly is also a no-no. You can also use your volume to grab attention. Vary your volume at key stages of your message, the contrast will focus your audience’s attention.
Even if you’re using a microphone volume is important. So always sound check first and get a feel for the space you are speaking in.
Pronunciation is a particularly important focal area for non-native English presenters. Pronunciation includes many different things like phoneme articulation, intonation, stress, and rhythm. It’s important for speakers to review their material and identify potential problem areas. Find out more on how to do this in our article ‘How do I improve my pronunciation?’
Chunking is all about 2 things – Pauses and Emphasis. Many people aren’t aware of the power of the pause, but pausing at key moments throughout our presentation is one of the most important delivery tricks in a presenter’s toolkit. There are different types of pauses for different purposes. Sometimes we pause briefly to allow our audience time to understand what we have just said before moving on to the next point, other times we pause for dramatic effect leaving our audience hanging for our next utterance.
Emphasis is the stress and volume we use at key points in our message. You will need to think about the keywords you will stress during each section of your presentation.
For example, in the sentence the speaker might choose to emphasize the word ‘billion’.
“This year we have made over 3 billion dollars in revenue”.
Be enthusiastic and passionate about your message. A passionate speaker spreads a contagious message. As Carl W Buechner once said “They might forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel”.
Most of all remember the 2 Ps – Practice and Polish. Practicing and polishing your delivery techniques is not only going to improve your presentation, it’s going to improve the way you communicate in any setting, whether it be presentations, meetings, video conferences, telecommunication, or just a face to face meeting with a client.
More of Amber’s Articles on Presentation Skills