Ditch the Data, Speak to the Heart
Whether you’re speaking to a small group of entry-level new grads or an auditorium of senior-level executives, that familiar feeling of dread can easily sneak up on you before having to present to an audience.
There’s no feeling of doubt quite like the one you get while standing before a sea of staring faces that expect a life-changing moment from you. The goal is to give them that life-changing moment ... and you can.
You may not have to give presentations on a regular basis but it’s important to hone your skills for those instances when you do.
Much of the information we exchange is driven by data and we want the details. We want to see the charts, we want to see the statistics. However, that’s not what grabs (or keeps) the attention of your audience.
1) Lead with a compelling message-Give your listeners the WHY. What’s the goal? What’s the ask and why is it important to take action?
2) Use impactful images to emphasize speaking points- People will remember the visuals and link them with what you said.
3) Speak your words- Don’t dump a lot of text on your slides. When your audience is focused on reading slides, they are less focused on you. Give them a reason to listen, scrap the bullet points.
4) Use charts and graphs to clarify- Graphic data should complement your information but don’t allow complex facts and figures to overpower your message.
5) Have fun and engage your audience-Encourage the sharing of stories, ask for opinions, allow participation. This will help guide your content and keep you in tune with the audience's interests.
Speak from your heart and you will connect with your audience. You will be more than just “another speaker” and become an actual person that they can relate to and trust.
To paraphrase a quote by Maya Angelou:
People may not remember what you said but they always remember how you made them feel.
Make your audience feel and they will remember you.
Check out these two books that have helped me on my journey: