If we look back through our life and think about the people who have influenced us, I am sure that we will recall at least one person whose ability to connect with us was memorable. There will be a teacher, perhaps a Scout leader or a university lecturer whose ability still resonates in our memory.
And if we ask ourselves why the memory of these people still stays with us after all this time, It would probably be because they demonstrated some – or even all – of the five steps discussed below.
Ed Murrow succinctly put it like this:
To be persuasive, we must be believable.
To be believable, we must be credible.
To be credible, we must be truthful.
In our open seminars on Public Speaking we stress the importance of being seen as a credible speaker. If you are not believable, then all the charisma in the world will not sway your audience.
So the first step to becoming a Powerful Presenter is to be Credible. What demonstrates that we are a credible presenter? Well, we must be honest in that the material that we bring must be authentic and accurate. We must also be seen to be practicing what we teach. If we are delivering a seminar on stress management, we would not have much credibility left if we get stressed out because things go wrong; or if we are demonstrating the right way to deliver a PowerPoint presentation, and our equipment won’t work. In short we need to not only “Talk the Talk’ but we must be seen to “Walk the Walk”.
Honesty means we have done our homework. The material we use must be up-to-date. If we have been doing the same presentation about a product for some time, it is easy to forget to constantly up date our information. But if we are caught out using dated statistics or superseded research information we will loose the goodwill of our audience and our credibility at the same time.
Honesty also means that we don’t try to ‘wing it’. If we do not know, we must say so – and then find out!. The first really important step to becoming a Powerful Present is to be Credible.
Next, we must be Competent. That means we must be capable, effective and practical. We must acquire the presentation skills to deliver our material in an effective way. We can be accurate and authentic, but if we cannot get the message across to the listeners that will mean little in the end. Acquiring public speaking skills is not daunting; there are many books and courses that are designed to give you the basic skills needed to become a competent presenter.
Thirdly we have to Connect with our audience. We cannot do that if we project an image of superiority or talk down to the listeners. So called ‘experts’ in their field can unwittingly fall into this trap. The subject is complex and I am the only one that understands it so listen in. No matter how true this may be, it will not connect with the audience in a positive way! When participating in our communication seminars I always make a point of recalling my first painful steps in public speaking. I share the sweaty palms, the thunderous beating heart, the dry mouth and show by my own experience that these things can be overcome with practice. People connect with others who have shared similar feelings or activities.
This next step can be one of the most important and it is to show that you really Care about the topic. Passion convinces; energy enthuses and emotion connects us with our audiences. The simple message here is that if we do not care about what we are presenting, how can we stir the passion in our audience? As speaking is all about motivating our audience to accept our ideas, understand our opinions and sell our product or ourselves – we need to engage with the audience on an emotional level. Motivation is an outcome of emotion, and the old proverb tells it like it is – “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
If we carefully consider the four previous steps to becoming a more Powerful Presenter, then this last one should come naturally. Being credible, competent, connecting and caring should lead to our being an energetic speaker who is forceful and high-powered, lively and vigorous. In short we become Dynamic.
Powerful Presenters bring an energy to what they do that convinces, motivates and in turn, energises the audiences. Powerful Presenters sell the message of improvement, improvement in personal achievement or profession expertise. They command with energy and enthusiasm and convince with accuracy and credibility.
Now we know the Five Steps that Powerful Presenters take, we need to find out how we can start on that road as well. Well, why don’t you connect – on Wednesday to find out!