It is very well acknowledged in business that being a good presenter is more of an acquired skill than a born-with-it gift. It is so important in today’s world to connect on an emotional level with the audience. Your audience wants to know what they will gain from listening to you, rather than what you are offering.
Most of us are not aware of our speech and body patterns and some of us get very surprised when we see ourself on video. Developing a natural stance and an energetic disposition during your speech is a learned skill.
It is said that when filming the biblical epic The Greatest Story Ever Told, the director George Stevens was trying to encourage extra passion from John Wayne when delivering the highly significant line, “Truly, this was the Son of God.”
“You are talking about Jesus – think about it,” said Stevens, “You’ve got to say it with awe.”
For the next take John Wayne duly summoned his most intense feelings. He paused dramatically, and said:
“Awe, truly this was the Son of God.”
The story you just read may or may not be true, but the meaning behind it remains. We all need a guide or a sounding board, so that we can convey the true meaning of what we are trying to say.
Speech delivery coach? Whaaat?
Ten years ago if you asked someone what a speech delivery coach was, you would get a, “Huh?” Today as we as a culture realize the important of presentation skills and success in business and life, hiring a coach to help with your speech delivery has become an acceptable, meaningful and value filled path to personal and professional development.
I don’t need no coaching smoaching! I am good enough to wing it.
I remember a time when I had to present in front of a group of Rotarians. I had just started my business and was very excited that I was asked. I put together the presentation and went through some half-ass practice exercises a couple of times. Mof my preparation time was spent, on guess what? Yeah, you guessed it, on the slide design! I had the PowerPoint slideshow set up to transition slides every 20 seconds, kind of like a Pecha Kucha presentation (A concise presentation that has 20 images x 20 seconds per slide. This trend began in Japan in 2003). I’m a cool cat and I was confident that I would impress the heck out of that group!
After all, I knew about presentations!
What could go wrong? And nothing went wrong. Until I got up to speak!
At first I felt a fluttering in my stomach. I told myself it would go away. But it didn’t. And then the top of my head started itching and I scratched it. Now I looked like I was trying to remember my presentation speech and was scratching my head in an effort to remember the next line. Then my voice started to go, I had suddenly developed a bad throat irritation. Anyway, I stumbled through the 6-8 minute presentation and today I have no memory of what I said. (And probably neither does my audience!)
If you’ve ever been that guy, This service is for you!
What changed for me since that presentation in front of the Rotary group?
- I vowed never to attempt to present unless I practiced first.
- I took public speaking classes at UCLA where I excelled and learned some invaluable lessons.
- I hired a coach myself to help me with my presentations.
- I committed to being fully associated when presenting! (This is a term you will hear me use when I coach you)
What is presentation delivery coaching?
Let’s be honest here. Some of us can get by without someone to help us speak well. As a best case scenario, you will do a great job at your speech and it will help you get that promotion, win the sale or get investors to believe in you. Worst case scenario, you would be like how I used to be before I hired a coach to help me!
We all know that it is very important to practice your speech many many times before delivering on the big day! A lot of business people are not comfortable asking their friends or colleagues to help and give feedback. This might actually be a good thing because based on the skills your friend has, the quality of the feedback will vary and the results will be mixed.
Organizations like the Toastmaster’s clubs are a great resource if you plan on being a member and attend meetings every week. But if you just plan on exercising your presentation muscles once in a while, hiring a presentation coach can be very helpful.
If you were to hire me, what are the areas we would work on?
I guide you in the following four areas when it comes to presentation delivery coaching.
VERBAL: What you say! Your ideas, data that you are using, the words you use and the information you talk about.
- Are you using stories and analogies to help clarify your points?
- How is the flow of the presentation? Does it feel choppy or disconnected?
- Is the presentation transitioning from idea to idea well? Are there connectors in place that communicate turns and changes in focus?
- Are you focused on your audience or are you too focused on what you or your company is trying to push?
VISUAL: How you use your body during the presentation.
- Are your hands gainfully employed in your presentation? Do you look comfortable with your hand gestures? Are they congruent with your speech?
- Will your movement feel natural to the audience? Are you comfortably using the space in the room and moving with purpose?
- Are you making good eye contact with your audience? Is the eye contact feel natural or a bit weird? not long enough? too long?
- Are your facial expressions congruent with the mood of the presentation?
- Are you able to use your props, PowerPoint Presentation animations and transitions and video without having to pause during your presentation?
VOCAL: How you use your voice and tempo during your speech.
- Is the delivery of your voice clear and articulate? Your speech should not come across as rushed or nervous.
- Are you projecting confidence and strength through the volume of your voice?
- Strategically planned pauses can emphasise parts of your presentation. How well are you utilizing this powerful tool?
- Filler words are at an absolute minimum. The more you practice, the more you will get rid of the fillers!
VISCERAL: Can your audience feel your passion, committment and conviction?
When intention, content and personality align, you get passion! When actors want to convey passion in their voices, they are advised to think like the character, put themselves in the character’s shoes, and that brings out the passion. If you have a clear intention of what you are trying to accomplish, if it is congruent with your message and the audience believes that you are there for them and have their best interests in mind, you will project visceral strength!
Lets face reality!
Thousands of great presentations are given every day around the world. (There are probably tens of thousands of crappy ones also!) You are not alone. Speaking in public is genuinely scary for most people, including many whom outwardly seem very calm. The brain when stressed shuts down and the ‘fight or flight’ impulse takes over. You cannot breathe that easily, you start sweating, you cannot think clearly, all your brain is thinking is, “Should I run or should I stay and fight?” Which is exactly what happened to me when I presented in front of the Rotary group!
But don’t worry – your audience wants you to succeed. They’re on your side. They’re glad it’s you up there and not them. If you decide not to hire me to help with your coaching, please print out this page and use it as a guide to help you with your presentation. Even accomplished speakers get butterflies before they speak. You may have heard this metaphor before. “There is nothing wrong with stomach butterflies! You just have to get them to fly in formation!”
So, how do you settle the butterflies and get them flying in formation?
Prepare, plan and PRACTICE!
If you know you are well prepared and have practiced you will reduce your fears by 70-80%. And once you start speaking, things will just start to flow and you will deliver a successful presentation. Do that a few times and you will start to have a good time delivering presentations!
If you are ready to take the next step, I ask that you contact me right away! I can get busy, so the sooner we talk, the sooner I can get your project done. Contact me or call me at (760) 383-1010.