Far too often, many presentations, public speeches, and seminars are given by a presenter who is not motivating, interesting or effective. Unfortunately, simply because a presenter may be knowledgeable, does not make him an effective speaker. The best and most effective presenters and public speakers learn and utilize specific techniques, methods, attitudes, and approaches. These methodologies are needed to get the maximum impact from the target or intended audience.
A presenter must learn as much as possible about the group he is giving his presentation to. First, he must know what his audience’s “hot button” is, or, in other words, what the main motivating force for most of the audience members. Effective presenters always do their homework before giving a speech. Many presenters make the mistake of giving the same presentation to every group, rather than customizing the speech to the audience’s needs. One of the major reasons that some speakers do this is that it is easier, and requires far less pre- presentation effort. In other words, they do not need to do any extra work if they reuse the speech they already have “in the bag.” However, every time an attendee leaves a presentation feeling it was a “waste of time,” or uninteresting, or he didn’t get anything out of it, the next time that attendee attends a seminar, the next presenter will have an even more difficult time “getting through.” Effective presenters approach every presentation, even if it is on a subject matter that he has given the same speech on numerous occasions, as if it is the first time. Effective presenters must demonstrate that excitement and enthusiasm each time.
Some of the techniques and/ or steps that an effective presenter must take advantage of, include:
- Presenters must be always be fully prepared. They must know their material, the audience’s interest, and be organized. They must be completely comfortable, and exhibit confidence.
- Effective presenters use simple, but effective, audio- visual aids. One of the easiest, and a quite effective way to do this, is to professionally prepare an interesting Power Point presentation. The presentation should both keep the audience member’s attention, as well as challenge him to get involved, and elicit action.
- Presenters must effective intersperse humour into the presentation. Speakers who take themselves too seriously often “lose” their audience. However, a presenter must balance the humor with content, so as to stay “on track,” and not waste time.
- The most effective presentations are interactive. Presenters must engage the audience, asking numerous questions, and getting audience participation. Presenters must not be afraid to “challenge” audience members, and must sometimes even “get in their faces.” Don’t let audience members “hide.” Never tell an audience to “sit back and relax,” but rather get them to sit up, pay attention, and get involved. The more meaningful interaction, the better a presentation.
- Presenters must be prepared in all aspects of his subject matter. He must be willing and able to understand and appreciate the issues audience matters might have, and to have the ability to fully communicate in terms that audience members can relate to. On the other hand, a presenter should never make up facts, and if he does not know, should say that he will get the information and forward to anyone interested.
- Presenters must have the patience to listen to others, and to not make “black and white,” “there’s only one way to do it” type of presentations. Effective presenters have the ability to introduce alternatives, and then lead audience members to better understanding.
The most effective presenters are able to motivate audience members to take some sort of positive action or activity based on the concepts of the presentation. Good presenters realize that the most effective presentations are not solely an attempt to convince others how smart, educated or clever the presenter is. Smart presenters realize that the most essential priority is to “get the message across” in a motivating manner.
A presentation should be enlightening, entertaining, informative, interesting, and make the attendee feel that he left learning something. The goal of any presenter should be to have every participant leave his presentation feeling the time spent at the presentation was both valuable and meaningful.