Power-up your persuasion skills to influence your business analysis stakeholders with these 51 extraordinary tips that sharpen your presentation skills.
Some people love it; some people loathe it, but delivering presentations is one of the most persuasive business skills you can possess.
Whether addressing one-on-one, to 8 stakeholders in a meeting room or 500 at a conference, the power of in-person communication is second to none. If you are a poor public communicator, you’re hindering your chances for advancement – you need to be a competent, rather than just confident, speaker.
No need to panic. Whether you are an experienced presenter, or just starting out, our 7-point PRESENT framework can help you set yourself apart:
- Presence – stage your stance
- Real – be genuinely authentic
- Eye – maintain visual contact
- State – control your energy
- Express – gesture your message
- Narrate – share a story
- Tone – switch your style
P is for Presence – stage your stance
You can be confident inside, but if you don’t demonstrate it to your audience they won’t buy into your message:
- Do stand to the left of the screen, from the audience’s perspective. We read from left to right, it will feel natural for your audience to look at you, follow the text or other information on the screen, and then jump back to you.
- Do stand with your front facing forward.
- Don’t stand at shoulder-width apart.
- Do stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Do lengthen your spine, so that you own your body posture.
- Don’t stand with your weight on one leg and place the other at an angle. If you are a woman, you are more likely to do this.
- Don’t switch your balance from one side to the other as it can create the impression that you are shifting, which ultimately creates doubt in the audiences’ minds.
- Do keep your hips vertically over your feet.
R is for Real – be genuinely authentic
To be seen as credible, you must always be yourself – important and good enough to give the presentation:
- Don’t stand up and pretend to be someone you are not.
- Don’t put on a suit of armour.
- Don’t presuppose that you are going to be challenged, it ultimately will happen because someone will find a chink in that armour.
- Do become vulnerable. If you disclose a part of yourself you will endear yourself to the audience.
- Do remember that the talk isn’t about you – it’s about the processes and knowledge that you’ve gained and are sharing with others.
- Don’t put on a training persona.
- Don’t try to be perfect. No-one is.
E is for Eyes – maintain visual contact
If you want to have your audience hang onto every word and really grip them, you must focus on mastering eye contact:
- Don’t spray across the room, look and survey the audience whilst never really making good eye contact.
- Do make random eye contact, to make the audience feel like you are talking to them individually.
- Do hold eye contact with a member of the audience.
- Do speak to that individual for longer than what a speaker ordinarily would, as it fulfils a certain need – a need for significance and acknowledgement.
- Don’t be afraid to create a bond with your audience through eye contact.
- Do love to connect with your audience through eye contact.
- Do this with even a small group of people, as it’s the key to giving a great presentation.
S is for State – control your energy
If you don’t nail this you will never look confident and you’ll never have people believe what you are saying:
- Do take a breath first. To speak effectively, you speak whilst breathing out.
- Do allow your audience to absorb what you are saying by giving them a few seconds to digest the bite size chunk of information you are sharing.
- Do give your audience time to relate the information to their lives. Achieve this by pausing and slowing your speech down to a reasonable pace.
- Don’t keep your eyes in the foveal position, where the eyes collapses downwards and focuses on one object, excluding everything else.
- Do keep peripheral vision. When you survey the whole scene you allow the unconscious to be the most important driver on state.
- Don’t focus on your fears.
- Do focus on your audience to be a super, outstanding speaker that talks with passion and that cares about your audience receiving the message.
E is for Express – gesture your message
Not knowing how to move can make you look wooden:
- Do not move your hands because it’s not under your control and because you are nervous.
- Do move your hands because you want them to.
- Do hand movements to add value to your presentation. There are certain gestures that confirm that you are a great speaker.
- Do point your finger like a sword to call people to action, to “set a new standard”.
- Do convey openness, honesty and words from the heart through open palm gestures.
- Do place you hand thoughtfully on your chin, when speaking a deep truth, connected to a higher power and sharing the power.
- Do take charge with palm down gestures and own the stage.
N is for Narrate – share a story
No matter what your speech is about, to keep your audience hooked your notes should always include a story:
- Do transition from one part or section to a story that people can relate to.
- Do pose a question that will make your story relevant to your audience.
- Do kick-start your story with the best scene to tell your story.
- Do include key characters other than yourself.
- Do visually describe them.
- Do add one or two personality traits to give them depth.
- Do tell your story through speech, rather than dialogue. Stories should never be retold, but relived.
- Do have a story with a conflict. Your main characters can have a struggle that must be overcome to reach the summit of the story.
- Do have a pivotal change at the summit, an authentic breakthrough, one in which there is a revelation or an insight.
T is for Tone – switch your style
This is vital if you want your audience to hang on your every word, you need to be able to control your tonality:
- Do have range in your voice, contrast keeps people on the edge of their seats.
- Don’t come across as monotone. If you use a medium pace and medium pitch in a medium voice throughout the entire speech, you will lull your audience.
- Do speed up whilst raising your voice. This is punchier, a quicker pace that when used with raising your voice can even become triumphant. This is a great way to call you audience to action, or to wake them up.
- Do slow right down, and even pause … for … what you ever thought was possible as a speaker.
- Do lengthen your words and maybe even whisper. When you speak in this tonality you can speak about nothing at all, but that kinaesthetic effect opens someone up and magnifies what you’re saying.
- Don’t over do any of these, it can become overbearing.
Take your powers of persuasion even further and influence your stakeholders with our presentation skills for business analysts master class.