The Art of Storytelling - how to bring your presentation to life
You have been asked to do a presentation? Don't panic. Here are three key techniques and tools for success used by many professional storytellers.
Shiv Khera once said : “Leadership is about persuasion, presentation and people skills”. You might be wondering why your superior has asked you to do a presentation when they could simply read a powerpoint or a pdf file. The answer to this is: they want to hear your opinion , your take on the topic. In a nutshell they want to see and hear your unique you, because they think you have something interesting to bring. So how can you bring a presentation to life ? By the end of this article you will have learned some tools that are applicable– no matter what the content of your presentation.
There are 3 key techniques that will help you catch and sustain the audience’s attention: your physicality, your voice, and being personable.
1. Physicality and body language
A good presenter is more than a talking head, they communicate ideas with their whole body: hand gestures and placement in space.
93% of communication is non verbal, made up of 55% of body language and 38% of voice quality.
So, can you try to find a physical gesture for some key words that you could practice before the big day? Also, practice moving in space, or shifting slightly your position if space is limited, for each big key aspect of your presentation. That will give visual clues to the audience about your content, and will help keep their attention. And be grounded : shuffling is a sign of nervousness and any body movement will be lost among your shuffling.
2. Voice and diction
The second key aspect that will help bring your presentation to life : your voice. A clear projecting voice with a nice range is the ultimate tool for any theatre actor. Why? Because they know that it will allow them to convey meaning and emotion for 60-90min without ever losing the audience’s attention. Think of yourself as a performer: are you articulating clearly? do you speak in a monotonous way or does your voice goes up and down as you speak ? (That’s particularly common amongst Australians to speak in a flat line) Are you projecting enough so the audience doesn’t have to make an effort to hear you or focus on your words instead of thinking of their next project’s deadline?
3. Be personable
Finally, be personable, be yourself. At least a bigger and more smiling version of YOURSELF (not your colleague or your boss) – as in what makes you unique. Be ok with making mistakes, with being vulnerable and exposing who you are in front of a group of people. That’s why we all can spend hours watching movie characters animated by actors: because they remind us of our humanity, because we connect with them. If you trip on a word, if you go blank, just joke about it or pretend nothing happened.
Don’t apologize for what you do, or who you are.
In conclusion, the three key techniques that will help you bring your presentation to life and catch the audience’s attention are: your physicality, your voice, and being personable.
And don’t forget - even the most seasoned speakers get nervous. What differentiate them from you are their many hours of practice. So practice – in front of a camera, a friend or a group. But practice makes it perfect.