Since audiences generally remember about 20 percent of a speaker’s message, Anthony Huey says it’s critical to hone your message through preparation. And with 50 percent of the audience distracted at any given point of a presentation, the way your message is delivered – with passion or conviction or style – is even more important.
Here are 18 ideas remembered from Huey’s “Making Your Messages Memorable” presentation at the Illinois REALTORS® Conference & Expo on May 11. I put them into three categories.
6 ideas to improve effectiveness
- Arrive early to the place where you’ll present to identify and minimize obstacles.
- Use short personal stories to help audience members connect with you.
- Step toward your audience while talking, make eye contact with those in different parts of the room.
- Watch body language of listeners for signs of disinterest.
- Find positive ways to engage audience members, such as using the name of an audience member in a hypothetical example.
- Use visual aids sparingly so the audience focuses on you.
6 things to avoid
- Don’t read presentations to your audience.
- Don’t stand fixed behind a podium.
- Do not use complete sentences on PowerPoint slides.
- Do not use Excel spreadsheets, small text or large amounts of data on PowerPoint.
- Do not create PowerPoint or handouts so the audience can read every word of your presentation while you speak.
- Avoid distracting the audience from your message, i.e., nervously gulping water.
6 steps to improving stock presentations
Following these steps is key to improving the messages you repeat again and again, in formal and informal settings, Huey says.
- Videotape yourself delivering the presentation.
- Transcribe the presentation word for word.
- Review and edit the transcription.
- Convert the “script” into a conversation with one person.
- Practice the revised presentation out loud a minimum of 10 times (no whispering, no mirrors).
- Edit the script down to bullet point phrases.
The more often you give a presentation, the more familiar you become with your messages and the shorter your bullet points can be, Huey says.
(Anthony Huey is a keynote speaker, trainer and communication consultant. Read more about him at communicateclearly.com.)