It’s not what you say but how you say it!

by admin on October 4, 2011

Our presentation courses are planned to significantly improve presentation skills to allow delegates of all levels to be able to make powerful presentations.  The presentation seminars that we provide are packed full of presentation tips and techniques that demonstrate strategies which will show delegates how to reduce nerves in presentations and to allow them to present confidently when presenting to clients or colleagues. Our presentation skills workshops are designed not just to show delegates how to make a simple presentation: they are designed to show delegates how to create a successful presentation also maximising the applications of PowerPoint to make great presentationsPresentation training will allow delegates to build on their presenting skills; make better presentations; enjoy making presentations and teach delegates how to present successfully.  Delegates who have taken our Presentation Courses have expressed how much they enjoyed the variety in our presentation skills training and now feel confident to present in any situation.

Your Vocal Image

“It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” This popular adage describes how your audience perceives you as you’re delivering your presentation. You can improve your vocal image by increasing your awareness of – and learning to control five elements of speech. Consider the question, “Would I want to listen to myself?”

1. Pitch

  • Conversational and natural
  • Vary for emphasis : Low for authority – Higher for energy and enthusiasm

2. Pace

  • Consider your audience and try not to go too fast
  • Slow for important phrases
  • Try to speak at half your natural speed at times to create vocal impact

3. Volume

  • Speak loudly enough for everyone to hear you, but without shouting
  • Change volume to emphasise contrast
  • Varied to heighten interest

4. Emphasis

· Change pace to emphasise key points
· Emphasise and intonate key messages so the audience can hear your conviction about the subject
· Slow the voice down at significant points to convey importance

5. Pausing

  • Conveys that you are relaxed and confident
  • Allows audience time to think about word flow
  • Signals a transition from one thought to another
  • Pause to provide anticipation
  • Creates impact and emphasis

Making yourself heard

Clarity

  • Take care to be precise with your pronunciation. Pronounce words correctly, and clearly.
  • Don’t miss letters, drop endings, or slur words.

Address Everyone

  • With larger groups, treat the room as one person and address them all as a whole.
  • Try to project your voice to the people at the back of the room so that everyone will hear you.
  • With smaller groups, up to 18, you can vary eye contact around the group to bring everyone in as an individual.
  • Be careful not to exclude anyone, especially the people immediately to your left and right. Varying eye contact among everyone will ensure that they can all hear you, and will also build a good personal rapport with the audience.

Be Yourself

  • The worst thing you can do is try to change your natural speech, especially your accent.
  • Be yourself, and apply the above to your normal accent.

Tips for effective vocal delivery

There are several things you can do to produce a more desirable speaking voice when you present. Some of these include:

  1. Practise your pitch and control by recording your voice and listen to the playback, and critique yourself or ask a colleague to help. Review it for tone, rate of delivery etc.
  2. Learn some voice inflection exercises to help you avoid a monotone sound.
  3. Put a SMILE into your voice. It’s easy to do. Simply remember to smile at the start of your presentation or when you start a new topic – your voice will sound friendlier.
  4. To become more confident in your voice, speak with fluency and without hesitation. Confident people also intonate their voices and put emphasis on words or parts of words.
  5. If you wish to sound happier and more positive while you’re speaking, raise the intonation slightly at the end of a sentence.
  6. If you wish to sound interesting ensure that the audience can hear that YOU are interested in your topic. Audiences become enthused about a topic when they can hear that ‘you care about the topic you’re presenting’ and ‘you care about what THEY care about’.
  7. Low pitched voices carry more authority but can sound boring, monotone and dismissive, unless the speaker varies their tone and intonation.
  8. High pitched voices sound positive and action orientated, but also need a variation in pitch and pace otherwise they sound hysterical.

Exercise

Improving your vocal impact: In this exercise, you will use a number of techniques, which are designed to improve your vocal image and voice projection. Choose a part of your presentation to present. This could be the introduction; 2-3 key slides within the presentation or your summary. The part you choose should include a key message or messages that you wish to convey to your audience. Present this part of your presentation to one or two members of your friends/family or work colleagues using one or a combination of the techniques detailed below. Once you have done this review with your audience what worked well and what requires more practice.

  1. Slow the voice down to half its natural speed at key points whilst emphasising these points; pause; and then continue to speak at your natural speed for the following points.
  2. Intonate your voice to emphasise key words and phrases e.g. if you are implying that something is very important – place extra emphasis on the words ‘very important’
  3. Repeat key words two or three times for impact – a great technique for emphasising key messages ‘remember the key points today are quality, quality, quality……’
  4. Extend certain key words – this shows enthusiasm, sincerity and belief about the topic. When you ‘reeeeeally, reeeeeally need to emphasise the key points of this technique, try this exercise.
  5. Pause for longer than you would normally after making a key point. Count your Mississippis ‘One Mississippi’ for one second, ‘Two Mississippi’ for two seconds etc. This technique allows you to count seconds and adds drama to your delivery style. Try holding your silence for between 3 and 5 Mississippis for maximum impact.

Further tips for voice projection

  • try to speak at half your normal speed for impact – this also helps to eliminate ‘uhms’ and ‘errs’
  • know your material well – this enables you to concentrate on your audience and not on your stress
  • take deep slow breaths and relax the muscles in the upper body, arms and neck
  • fill the lungs with air to make your words louder – great for voice control and projection
  • have a glass of water at hand – helps with a dry throat
  • cough before the presentation to clear the throat

The effect of stress on the voice

  • Quick shallow breathing makes control of volume difficult
  • Tension in muscles – impairs our breathing and prevents us from forming words properly
  • A surge of adrenaline speeds up the pace at which we do things, making words merge and making words difficult to pronounce
  • A dry mouth makes it difficult to use are tongues and throats effectively (so have a glass of water handy ) As nerves can affect the voice and its projection, it is worth practising the above exercises to improve the quality of our articulation. A fun way to do this is to practise the following tongue twister:

Betty Botter bought a bit of bitter butter. Betty Botter thought a better bit of butter should be bought. She bought a better bit of butter, better butter than the bitter butter Betty bought.

Excellent presentation skills give you a platform to demonstrate your sales skills, leadership qualities, communication skills, influencing abilities and promotion potential. Our objective over the two days is to teach you the skills and techniques that will give you both the confidence and competence to enjoy making presentations in all situations. We will be giving action points to sharpen your image; reduce nerves; allow you to appear both confident and competent and increase your credibility in the eyes of colleagues and clients.

PowerPoint presentation skills, Advanced Presentation skills and Presentation skills are three of the courses trained by Total Success Training, a training consultancy specialising in communication training and management skills in London and throughout the UK. Other related courses include sales presentation skills, training the trainer, assertiveness skills, selling skills, negotiation skills and communication skills for managers. Click here if you need more information regarding presentation skills course information or contact Total Success who will be delighted to talk to you via e-mail.

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