No matter how interesting the subject matter, a boring conference speaker can quickly alienate his or her audience. Good presenters know their voice can make or break a presentation. A well-trained voice can make a huge impression on listeners. And it does not matter how well you know the presentation, there is always room for improvement.
To help you be more successful during your next presentation, your friends at Dale Carnegie have listed seven quick tips that can help improve your speech and sales communication when making a presentation to both large and small audiences:
1. Articulate Your Words — If you tend to talk quickly, mumble or slur words, the important points you are trying to make can and will get lost. Worse, people will simply tune you out during your entire presentation.
2. Vary Your Tone — Nothing numbs listeners more than somebody who speaks in a dull monotone. Project your voice powerfully and clearly. Learn to use pitch for variation and accent your power words. This helps keep the audience involved and on their toes.
3. Watch Your Tempo — Avoid speaking in a slow, drawn-out manner. The speed of speech affects how your message is interpreted. Increase your tempo when you wish to convey excitement or urgency. Slow down when you want your words to sink in.
4. Control Your Volume — Project your voice so people in the back of the room can hear you easily. Raise and lower your voice when you want to emphasize certain words or concepts.
5. Get Rid Of Speaking “Crutches” — Avoid punctuating sentences with “you know,” “like,” “uh,” “really,” “kind of” and other fillers. This pattern becomes tiresome to listeners and portrays a nervous or lazy speaker. Break this habit if you have it.
6. Use People’s Names — Make sure you connect with your listeners by telling stories and using the first name of someone from the audience. By using names, your words become embedded in the audiences’ mind.
7. Practice Out Loud — It is hard to know how you sound to other people. Try using a voice-activated recorder to listen to yourself practice out loud. Play the recording, listen to how you sound and make positive changes. Better yet, audition your speech in front of someone who will give you feedback. Do not get upset or frustrated when they give you criticism. Instead, recognize they are trying to help and find ways to incorporate their suggestions. And if they tell you it was perfect, get a second opinion.
With the right articulation, inflection, tone and tempo, your voice will be the means to hook your audience. Get accustomed to using the first names of audience members to personalize your presentation and drive the topic home. Most importantly, know how you sound to others and practice to improve. Over time, your voice will become more effective during your presentations.
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Mid-Northern Michigan, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Mid-Northern Michigan. We’d love to connect with you on Facebook and LinkedIn.