Presentation secret: speak directly to your audience
April 21, 2020
The biggest presentation secret is not a secret at all.
In a conversation you would never say: “In this sentence you will hear that I am saying…..” or “In my next paragraph I will outline my argument.” This would be “meta-talk”: talk about talking, and it sounds very odd!
That’s the presentation secret. So why do we see so many presenters start their presentation with: “In this presentation I will show you….” or “I will take you through this presentation….” That sort of meta-talk is annoying because it distances you from your audience. You distance yourself at exactly the time when you need to connect. To avoid this presentation mistake, you need to speak directly to your audience rather than narrate the mechanics of your presentation.
Presentation secret: Great presenters avoid metatalk.
What does this mean in practice? Avoid referring to your presentation as a separate entity. Instead, talk to your audience as if to a person – one to one. And only refer to your visual aids as needed.
You SHOULD NOT say: “Now turn to page 3. Here are the quarterly sales figures. As shown on the presentation, sales this quarter are up 3% and the graph shows the positive trend.”
You SHOULD say: “Sales this quarter are up 3%. That is a good result. This means we have now been increasing sales for the last 6 quarters. It’s a trend we would love to see continue.”
Can you see the difference?
In the second example you don’t mention the slide or the graph. You aren’t narrating a slide, you are talking to the audience and the slide/graph visually supports your argument. It’s a subtle change, but completely changes how effectively you communicate.
If you want to learn more about this and many other techniques for better presentations, please get in touch and find out how we can support you to become a world class presenter.
About Benjamin Ball Associates
At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help clients to present better.
Over 12+ years the award-winning BBA team has coached thousands of senior executives globally to present powerfully. You get access to a transformational toolbox of techniques to help you become a clear, confident communicator.
We’ll help you create a powerful first impression that hooks and engages your audience immediately and we’ll transform you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.
Speak to Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and discuss your upcoming speech or presentation.
Contact us for a chat about how Benjamin Ball Associates can help you.
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