Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Before you’ve even said a word

Taking control beforehand to make your presentation easier


To some degree all forms of public presentation share a common ground with the stage hypnotist. Before you go to a hypnosis show you see posters to advertise it that evoke a certain mood and mindset, when you arrive at the venue it is more dimly lit than usual, the music is of a calming nature, all diversions are shut down/switched off, and the heat is turned up slightly. Even when the hypnotist speaks he does not charge directly into the hypnosis but, in a low, slow voice, gives a pre-amble speech that helps to further reinforce the state of mind and mood that has already been established in so many ways. By the time the hypnosis actually begins the hypnotist has already put you in a state that makes his job so much easier.


In public speaking you can often do the same. Here are a few things to consider that could help make things go more smoothly for you.


  • If you making an important presentation try to make sure that your audience receives information in advance about you and/or your topic. Sometimes having printed material distributed immediately beforehand is useful as well. Things that can be read are things you might not have to say, and it gives them something to refer to before, during and after.
  • In a perfect world, every situation we speak in would be problem free but….. until that perfect world arrives it is best to be aware of all the little things.Take control of your aspects of the room you are presenting in where it is appropriate. Make sure your sound and lighting is the best it can be. Simple things like keeping the lights bright on you and dimming them on the audience can really focus your audience on you. Make sure you can be seen and heard.
  • Ensure that the area you are presenting in is completely under control in terms of materials you need, podiums, water, etc. and double check anything that’s plugged in. The last thing you need is to have to play Mcgyver in the middle of a keynote.
  • Get a sense of who your crowd is beforehand and see that they are seated to maximum advantage. If you are in a big room that isn’t very full and people are all pressed to the back or scattered around try to get them to gather together near the front. Usually people are happy to co-operate and it can make a world of difference.
  • Consider exactly how you are introduced and try to make your introduction work to your benefit. It is also advisable to get the most important person possible to introduce you. At times, the job is pre-set and inflexible, but sometimes you can have a say, and if you can get the president of the company to introduce you it raises your level of importance. Your audience has their eyes on you and wants to know what you have to say….. before you’ve even said a word.


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