I’ve watched three very different presentation techniques in the last week, while taking part in a Las Vegas conference.
All of them highly effective.
But, deciding which presentation delivery technique to use yourself is difficult.
Some of the most frequently asked questions on our presentation skills courses are:
So, I want to help you come to the decision of which method would best suit you.
Here’s how the speakers wowed an audience of 15,000+ people.
Mel Robbins spoke for an hour without notes.
Was it ad-libbed?
It was well-rehearsed and carefully choreographed.
Mel was introduced as “the most-booked motivational speaker in the world this year”.
We could see why.
From a powerful intro on video, she owned the stage as soon as she stepped on it.
She had energy, enthusiasm and passion for her topic.
She began with a story – of how her life was heading the wrong way.
Characterised by wanting to hit the snooze button on the alarm each morning.
Instead of leaping out of bed.
Then one morning, she simply counted “5-4-3-2-1” then got up.
It awakened a realisation.
“The five-second rule”, as she calls reversed fearful and negative thinking.
It prepares us for positive action.
Then came video clips and emails she’d received.
They shared life-affirming stories of how her rule had reversed the fortunes of others.
Even prevented suicides.
It was a great use of Powerpoint.
Short texts and emails shown on huge screens, drawing gasps from the audience.
But there was structure to her presentation.
She knew exactly where she was going next.
It was seamless – and breathless – for an hour.
A long presentation can be delivered extremely well without notes.
But it must be highly-structured and well-rehearsed.
Excellent delivery is simply about superbly executing a well-constructed plan.
You should remember this when deciding if this delivery technique is for you.
It’s best to use another form of presentation delivery if:
Most speakers at the Las Vegas conference used autocue or teleprompter.
With varying degrees of success.
Though the standard of presentation was still high.
Most had a passion for their subject so the words jumped off the page.
One outstanding success was Sue Collins.
Vulnerability was the key to her impact.
She told the audience of the highs and lows along the road to success.
But she lifted the words off the teleprompt page screen.
To do this she used a slow pace and passionate tone.
Each word had different meaning and she gave every syllable life.
Frequent looks up to the audience disguised the fact she was reading.
She also used her energy, talking with her hands and body gestures.
Highlighting another benefit of this presentation delivery technique.
It was a high impact talk indeed.
Delivering a presentation using autocue or a teleprompter can be highly effective.
But you must maintain a relationship with the audience.
Ensuring you look at the audience to engage them.
Rather than coming across as lifeless as you glare at the prompt.
Take your time with the words, add meaning and use your passion.
Maintain energy in your presentation, use your hands and body language to get your message across.
If you find learning lines or structure hard, autocue/teleprompter is the technique to use.
Finally – Dana Edwards spoke with notes in hand.
Maintaining a clear roadmap of where she was heading in the presentation.
She glanced only seldomly at her notes.
She shared a story of how her children inspired her to success.
The spotlight then went to one of her children in the audience.
When attention diverted to her son, she would glance at her notes.
Utilising the opportunity to check where the talk would lead next.
It was a masterclass in using notes – without appearing to need them.
The audience wants to be informed and entertained.
Unaware of how we’re keeping on track with our material.
This is what takes practice.
Looking to often at your notes can make you seem less confident.
Even less knowledgeable about the subject.
Your audience becomes bored or restless.
If you struggle with memorising structure then consider using notes when presenting.
Use these notes as a guide to remind you where you are heading.
Rather than constantly staring at them and losing your audience.
When checking your notes, give the audience something else to focus on.
Each method – ad-lib, autocue and using notes – can be used to great effect.
But we need to master each technique to ensure that method works for us.
In our presentation skills training, we give candidates rehearsal time on each technique.
By the end of the session, all that’s required is practice.
So our candidates turn the techniques into show-stopping speeches.
Bill McFarlan is Executive Chairman of Pink Elephant Communications in Glasgow.
You can view his full profile here…
Photo credit // unsplash.com // nextleveladvisors.com // youtube.com
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