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Five Habits of Effective Public Speakers

January 21st, 2019

You can consistently deliver more effective presentations if you develop the habits of effective speakers. Success is the result of establishing smarter habits.

1. Clear Purpose

Start your presentation with the end in mind. The only reason to speak is to move people. Prepare by pondering this question – what do you want people to think, feel or do after you speak? Keep that purpose top of mind while you prepare and deliver your presentation.

2. Prepare

Don’t wing your presentation or hope to think on your feet. That’s a formula for disaster. Instead, consider the mindset of your audience. Design your presentation. Rehearse it. Arrive early to check out the room. Be prepared to cut it short or deal with interruptions. Rehearse dealing with difficult questions.

3. Open & Close

There are three parts of your presentation: the opening, the body, and the close. They are not equal in time, but each is important. Many speakers make the mistake of only focusing on the body. The opening of your presentation needs to grab the attention of your audience, establish rapport and set the direction. The close is the last words you say and hence might be the strongest point they remember. Ensure that it reinforces your message and the desired action.

4. Pause

Nervous and novice speakers are afraid of silence. Yet, silence is your friend. You don’t persuade anyone by speaking constantly, rapidly and louder. You persuade them by saying something poignant, then pausing while they absorb and consider your words. The more often and longer that you pause, the more confident you will appear and the more comfortable they will feel with your ideas.

5. Conversation

Your presentation should not feel like a pitch or a lecture. If you come across that way, people might tune you out and resent you. How can you make your presentation feel more like a conversation? Review the aspects that you enjoy in a friendly conversation. That might include – telling stories, pausing and making friendly eye contact. Here’s a technique to enhance the conversation – ask questions of the group and listen without judging. You can punctuate your presentation with rhetorical questions to repeatedly engage their minds.

We are creatures of habit. Nurture these habits to become a more effective presenter.

About the Author:
Poor presentation creates stress, wastes time and loses money. George Torok, CEO of Superior Presentations helps presenters deliver the intended message for greater success. You can arrange for individual coaching or team training – online or onsite.

Learn more at
Connect with George on Linkedin.

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