Presenting. Some love it. Some hate it. But everyone’s got to do it.
So much of our time is spent crafting perfect PowerPoint presentations that we often forget to prepare ourselves physically for meetings. Research has shown that only 7% of people’s attention is on our content and the rest is focused on our voice (38%) and body (55%). This means a great presentation will be crippled by a mumbling voice and fidgeting feet!
Our friends across the road, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, have crafted a 1.5 day training course to focus on the mind, body and voice for presenting. Think body stretches, breathing exercises and tongue twisters. The training is as much about loosening up as it is about becoming assertive, clear and concise. Lots of great info came out of the training, but here are my Five Rules for Good Communication:
- Stand tall and proud – Keep your feet shoulder width apart and arms at your side (the occasional hand gesture is totally fine)
- Be empathetic / know your audience – Do not get lost in your content and lose sight of who you are talking to. Eye contact is key.
- Know your objectives & keep things simple – Keep to the point and do not overload people with too much information; consciously breath and include short pauses to allow people to digest your information.
- Rehearse out loud – We can’t always re-group as a team ahead of meetings, but that shouldn’t stop you presenting out loud in the shower! You will naturally edit if you hear yourself ahead of time.
- Be enthusiastic, but be yourself – Don’t be a fake version of yourself, but come to the table animated and ready to perform.
I may not be a Tom Hiddleston* yet, but I’m definitely a better presenter because of these tips. Go ahead! Try them for yourself and notice the difference.
*Former RADA alumni