30 Presentation Tips For Winning Presentations

Ever found yourself looking for ways to enhance your presentation skills for your upcoming pitch?

This presentation of yours may either be the deal maker or breaker! You wouldn’t want to lose this opportunity to work with a potential client, would you?

According to a Prezi survey, 70% of employed Americans who deliver presentations agree that presentation skills are beneficial in helping them ace their presentations and succeed at work. However, the fear of presenting is still very real amongst everyone, no matter whether you’re presenting to a small group of people or a really large one. This fear tends to affect the way you present, resulting in a presentation delivered below your own expectation.

Delivering a good presentation is no easy task, but it is definitely not an impossible one. In this article, we have prepared 30 presentation tips to help you ace your presentation. From presentation design, delivery of speech to preparing yourself before a big presentation, these tips have got you covered.

1. Arrive early

It is best to arrive early before a presentation so as to prepare yourself for the big show. This is because anything can happen – planning your journey to arrive on the dot will only spell trouble. What if the train breaks down? Or if there is a jam because of an accident? We cannot afford to take risks. So, come early. It’ll give you time to settle down and get prepared.

2. Adjust to your Surroundings

The faster you get adjusted to the environment you’ll be presenting in, the more comfortable you’ll feel. If possible, get access the room you’ll be delivering your presentation in as early as you can. It’s best to practice with the microphone, test the lighting and get an idea of what the room’s seating layout looks like.

3. Calm your nerves

Many people get nervous before presentations due to stage fright. Sometimes, it’s because they set high expectations for themselves, to the point that they are afraid that they won’t be able to meet them. But, one thing you should know is that getting nervous before a presentation is absolutely normal, even for seasoned speakers like Abraham Lincoln. Therefore, fear should never be avoided but faced instead.

Here are some things you can do to calm your nerves:

  • Meditate – Focus on the result that you would like to achieve at the end of the presentation
  • Chew gum – Research has shown that the act of chewing gum will help one become more alert and it also helps to reduce anxiety
  • Take slow and deep breaths – It helps to clear the mind which helps calm your nerves.

4. Drink water

According to experts, anxiety may cause certain individuals to feel thirsty right before they are about to present. Reason for this is because anxiety may either take water away from your mouth to send it to the other areas of your body that need it more or it could have increased the acids in your stomach, contributing to a loss of saliva.

To prevent all that, avoid sugary beverages and caffeine as they only make you feel thirstier. This will only amplify your anxiety,  and can prevent you from speaking smoothly.

Instead, ensure you are well hydrated by drinking a glass of water. Lemon juice will often do the trick as well as it helps lubricate the throat.

However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

5. Exercise

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world.  What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” ~ Bob Proctor

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognise it in others as well. So if your body and mind are anxious, your audience will know. Hence, it’s important to prep yourself before the big show so that you come up on stage confident, collected and ready.

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and send oxygen to the brain. This results in increased muscle efficiency, improved reaction time and movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

  • Neck and Shoulder Rolls
  • Arm Stretches
  • Waist Twists
  • Forward Stretches

6. Don’t Fight the Fear; Turn Your Nervous Energy into Enthusiasm

Nervous energy is good and exactly what we need for our presentation. But how? How does feeling like your heart is about to jump out of your chest or feeling cold sweat and/or anxiety a great feeling to have?

The brain perceives stress the same way, whether that stress is physical or psychological. With stress comes nervous energy, which according to research helps us to perform at our optimum and helps improve our memory. This stress is good and it helps stimulate us. Channel this energy focused on your nerves and insecurities to what truly matters more.

Focus this energy on how passionate you are for what you’re about to speak. Use this energy to project a confident and strong voice. Use it to impact your audience.

And when you do, you’ll realise you didn’t feel as nervous as you thought you would.

7. Use Positive Visualisation

Studies have proven that positive visualisation is effective in helping calm your nerves. Also known as mindfulness, it has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness teaches people to observe their own behavior and thought process without judgment. It makes people acknowledge their feelings and thoughts before letting all these insecurities and reservations go. Naturally, that’ll make us focus on our strengths and positive energy as a result.

Start by imagining a positive outcome to a scenario in your mind. Do not think about possible negative scenarios. With mindfulness, the reality is more likely to play out the way you envisioned.

8. Take deep breaths

A study has shown that deep breathing can help change the state of our minds. This is because it helps increases the supply of oxygen to our brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. Breathing also helps you feel connected to your body by bringing your awareness away from your worries and hushing the self-doubt in your mind.

9. Put yourself in the audience’s shoes

Have you ever been to a presentation and felt that the presenter wasn’t really capturing your attention? Chances are, there could be a lack of interaction between him or her and us, the audience.

It’s important that we look from a different perspective when presenting so that we’ll be able to understand how the audience may be feeling or thinking. Always ask yourself: Will the audience be interested to hear this? Is my content easy to understand?

Not only will this help you think the way they – the audience – do, it’ll make you ensure what you’re presenting is engaging and relatable to them. This ensures your audience leaves the room learning something new and charmed, ready to attend your next presentation.

10. Practice

If you think it’s normal for everyone to be confident before a presentation, then think again. Finding someone who is naturally talented when it comes to public speaking is as rare as a blue moon. Few individuals can walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation. Yet many people seem to have the misconception that it is possible to do so. Even speakers like Steve Jobs spend hours rehearsing for their presentations before delivering their presentation – why shouldn’t you?

It’s not only about what you say, but how you say it. Like any other skill, presentations require practice in order for you to nail the delivery and execution. Not only will this help you become more comfortable when presenting, it also helps you improve as a presenter. The result? Presenting becomes less daunting over time and you become much more confident.

11. Make use of body language

Body language is one of the most important characteristics needed to interact with your audience during presentations. Actress Mae West once said: “I speak two languages, Body and English.”

Body language, which includes hand gestures and facial expressions, is commonly used by presenters, maybe sometimes subconsciously, to place emphasis on certain points. It can also help to communicate your points to the audience more effectively, show your confidence and make you look and feel more comfortable.

However, do not use it excessively as it will become a source of distraction for your audience, and it will ultimately conflict your message.

12. Move around

The stage is all yours during a presentation.

Imagine if you were listening to a presentation in which the speaker positions himself/herself at the same spot throughout the whole presentation. How would you feel? Like most of the audience, you will probably be bored and lose focus after a while.

It is best to make use of the space given to you as it adds energy and variation to your presentation. Furthermore, it makes you look more confident and relaxed.

Here are a few ways in which you can do it:

  • Key message – When you are delivering your key message, it is best to position yourself at the center of the stage where you are the closest to the audience. Centre stage is also the position where you will probably get the most attention from the audience.
  • Use a staged timeline – Where a story involves the passage of time like past, present, and future, you can imagine a timeline moving across the stage with the progression of time. For example, when you are speaking about the past, position yourself at the left side of the stage, present – in the middle, and future – on the right. Remember to position the spot representing the past to the audiences’ left, not yours! That way, they can better relate to the story that you are speaking about.

13. Smile

Smiles are contagious!

According to experts, your facial expressions have the ability to influence your emotions and those of others around you as well. Make sure you smile as it naturally creates a higher frequency of sound in your mouth, changing the overall tone of your voice. Due to the human instinct of mirroring, it also will likely make others smile along with you which then improves the mood of everyone in general. With that being said, it’s important to smile genuinely. A forced smile makes you look confused and frustrated.

14. Breathe in not out

Do you feel the urge to use ‘um’, ‘yeah’ or ‘you know’ during your presentations? These words are very distracting and may also kill your presentation. Try breathing in whenever you feel like you’re going to say something. The pause may seem a little awkward, but the audience probably wouldn’t even notice this.

15. Eye Contact

Always keep in mind that the audience is one of the most important parts of a presentation. Without an audience interested to hear what you are saying, there wouldn’t be any reason for you to give a presentation at all. Try to make your audience feel significant by maintaining eye contact with them throughout the presentation.

By maintaining eye contact, not only will you keep the audience engaged, but you will also look more confident and authoritative.

If you find it difficult to maintain eye contact with your audience, here’s a tip. Instead of looking straight into their eyes, you can either look at their nose or forehead! Either way, it will look as though you are maintaining eye contact with your audience.

16. Looking Confident

Have you heard of the phrase ‘Fake it till you make it’?

There are really only two types of presenters – one that lies and another type that’s just really nervous.

Confidence is an important trait that every presenter should have. This is because the audience is able to determine how prepared the presenter is through their level of confidence. Being confident will not only help you boost your own morale, it will also give you credibility as a presenter as you speak to your audience.

17. Project Your Voice

Voice projection is very important, especially during presentations as it dictates how powerful your voice is. It isn’t just about speaking loudly, but also confidently and distinctly. If you speak loudly, people often view you as a confident person with a strong personality. This is why it is important to project your voice, because how your audience view you may also affect your credibility as a speaker.

Another reason for voice projection is to get your message across to the audience. Make sure your audience can hear and understand what you are saying, if not there might may be a chance that they will lose interest in your presentation.

It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.

18. Engage with your audience

We all know that it is important to engage with your audience during presentations, especially if it is going to be a lengthy one. This way, you’ll be able to capture their attention and make the presentation a more enjoyable one for your audience and yourself. Simple acts like asking a question and getting them to raise their hands to respond are great way to engage with them and also to ensure that they are still awake and listening to you.

Sometimes, you do not need your audience to perform any actions to engage them. Just your words and your tone can get their attention – if it’s done right. Connect on a personal level by sharing stories. Use the right tone when you are speaking depending on the type of presentation you are going to deliver, and also to place emphasis on words that need to be emphasized.

19. Never read from your slides

PowerPoint slides should accentuate your points; they should never be the point. Your audience should be able to instantly scan through the slides instead of having to spend time reading them in detail. In addition, you’ll definitely lose their attention if you read from your slides. Instead, try to either present with prompts on your slides, or cue cards as reference in case you forget your points.

20. The power of repetition

Most of the audience probably hears and remembers only half the things you are saying. The solution to this is to repeat and reinforce the key points. First, state and explain the point. Next, provide the audience with examples of how the points can be applied and finally conclude by providing actions that they can carry out based on the point.

Since no one probably remembers everything you say, make use of the power of repetition to create a bigger impact on the audience.

21. Use of pauses

Pauses are like verbal punctuation.

Imagine this. You are attending a presentation and the speaker starts off by saying, “Hello everyone! How are you guys doing?”, and the next thing you know, he is already going through the outline of the presentation. How would you feel? It doesn’t seem genuine right?

Pauses are very important as it helps to pace your delivery. Pauses work well when you are trying to emphasize a key point as it provides the audience with time to absorb and process what you have said.

While you’re at it, be sure to make eye contact with your audience to reinforce your point, leaving your audience hungry for more.

As much as pauses are a need for a presentation, avoid overusing them as it will slow down your pace and also make you look less confident.

22. Tell stories

Michael Margolis once said this, “Storytelling is about connecting to other people and helping people to see what you see.”

You see, business presentations don’t always have to start with stating numbers and facts. Instead, you should adopt a different approach by using stories to connect with your audience while leading them on to the points and concepts that you will be speaking about later in the presentation.

Stories can be useful in a sense that they allow your audience to have a vision of what your presentation is about. That being said, although the ability to tell your story is essential, it is also important to select the right story as it can capture or lose the audience’s attention. Your story also plays a big part in helping the audience understand your concepts better and it may also connect with the audience on a personal level!

23. Use pictures

It is good to have pictures in your PowerPoint slides as they can help to reinforce your key points. On top of that, it also adds color to your presentation to make it more attractive and pleasing to the eye rather than just black and white slides filled with words.

However, not every image is suitable for every slide! You can’t possibly have pictures of cartoons when you are presenting to your investors right?

So here’s a tip for you when you are looking for pictures for your slides:

  1. Choose pictures that are related to your points so that it is easier for the audience to understand and relate to what you are talking about.
  2. Avoid using blurry or pixelated photos as they look unprofessional
  3. Avoid stretching your photos! Do you notice that your photos will be out of proportion after stretching them? A solution is to crop your photos so that they remain proportionate.
  4. Use royalty free pictures to avoid watermarks on your photos as they also convey a lack of professionalism. Here are a few websites which you can get royalty free images from – pixabay.com, pexels.com and freepik.com

 24. Keep it simple

Keep your presentations simple. Don’t flood your audience with too many numbers and facts because at the end of the day, will they really remember everything you said?

What is the key message for your audience to take away? Key message should be focused and communicated across very briefly, and of course, it’s best to support it with evidence. However, if what you are planning to say is not related to your point, they shouldn’t say it. This is because you may lead your audience to a different direction which then defeats the purpose of having the presentation.

25. Use animations

Animation is an important feature which you can use to produce an effective presentation. It is also a good way to capture the attention of your audiences because they will be able to anticipate something. Animations, such as pulse, can help to emphasize certain points of your presentation. Also, animations can help to clearly show the flow of content of the presentation when used within a slide. Here’s an example, when presenting a series of milestones, animations can come in useful in showing the flow of content. But, if you have a particularly busy slide, it is recommended to use exit animations when appropriate to remove the clutter from your slides.

However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Animations are good to have, however, if they are necessary, don’t use it. Don’t overuse them either! Having too many animations will not only distract the audience, but it can overshadow the main point of your presentation!

26. Don’t overrun

Have you ever sat in a presentation wondering when it will end? Well, I’m sure we all have. Always remember to keep within the time limit of your presentation or if possible, end earlier and allow the audience to clarify their doubts through Q&A sessions. It is important to respect the audience’s time. Try your best not to overrun the presentation as the audience will eventually lose interest and wonder when it will end. Be flexible during presentations and be prepared for any unexpected situations to arise.

27. Summarise the key points after the presentation

How much do you actually remember after a 30-minute presentation?

There is a high chance that your audience will not remember everything you said during the presentation so do your audience a favour by summarising the key points when you are concluding your presentation. It serves two main purposes, a recap of the presentation that you have delivered and to ensure that your main points are well communicated to your audiences.

28. Accept constructive feedback and apply it in the future

Always practice before your actual presentation, and if possible, practice in front of your peers as they can be of great help by giving you constructive feedback. With this feedback, you will be able to understand what your strengths and shortcomings are so you can make improvements. Accept these feedback as an opportunity for you to work towards your goals.

29. Attend other presentations and observe

A trick to finding out how to improve your presentations is to attend presentations by other speakers themselves. This is because you can observe and take note of what you should and should not do to be a better presenter. Not only that, it helps to show respect for other presenters and also gives you the opportunity to observe how presentations are delivered – helping you gain the perspective of the audience.

30. Join Toastmasters

Toastmasters Clubs helps individuals enhance their presentation skills and allow others to seek guidance to combat their fear of speaking to a large audience. Individuals from different walks of life gather to develop their presentation skills in front of an audience so they can receive constructive feedback which can be applied to further improve and polish their skills. Not only will Toastmasters provide a platform for you to practice, you will also be able to pick up some tips and tricks from the experts at Toastmasters!

Use these 30 proven presentation tips to help you ace your presentation. Don’t miss the opportunity to apply these for your next big pitch and let us know in the comments if it worked for you.

The Key Guide To Overcoming Your Fear Of Public Speaking

Overcoming your fear of public speaking. Seems like an impossible feat right? Most of us have experienced it. You have likely experienced it yourself too. Hundreds of eyes staring at you as you come up on stage to speak. Beads of sweat trickling down your forehead as your heart palpitates uncontrollably. The pressure becomes overwhelming and you freeze, unable to utter a single word.

When it comes to public speaking, it’s important to effectively get your message across. But stage fright can get in the way of your performance no matter how much practice you put in to make a great public speech.

This type of stage fright is also known as glossophobia or speech anxiety which is the fear of speaking before an audience.

Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before the anticipated activity. This occurs when you think of the negative consequences, causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline as a result. At this point in the process, we all start having cold sweat, tense muscles or breathlessness – all the common signs of stage fright.

According to experts, roughly 80% of people get increasingly nervous and lose sleep before a big public speaking moment. Some experts even suggest that the fear of public speaking rivals death. Yet, most people will be put in a situation where they are expected to speak in front of a crowd.

The fear of public speaking is very real.  These moments can sometimes be career-defining which then leads to the question: How do the pros make public speaking look easy?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” ~ Bob Proctor

When you feel nervous and have not prepared enough for it, chances are, your audience will know. It is important to prep your body and mind before the big show so that you come up on stage as confident, collected and ready as possible.

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to your brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, help calm the mind. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

a) Warming up

If you are nervous, your body will feel the same way. You may find that your body is tense, breaking in cold sweat or you may feel stiff and your muscles are tight. The audience will notice you are nervous.

So do a couple of stretches to loosen your tense muscles and relax your body. According to experts, it’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps increase the functional potential of the body. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and movement of an individual.[1]

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

  • Neck and Shoulder Rolls

This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure. Rolls help focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.

  • Arm Stretches

We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.

  • Waist Twists.

Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions. Without this, it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

  • Forward Stretch.

Touch your toes while keeping your knees straight and legs together help loosen nearly all of your upper body muscles and gets your blood circulation flowing. This can instantly help to make you feel more comfortable and relaxed.

  • Breathe

When you are nervous, do you tend to breathe faster and take shorter breaths? Nervousness is always accompanied by these very symptoms. If not addressed, you may end up mumbling and stuttering your way throughout the speech.

To ensure that does not happen, take slow, deep breaths. A study has shown that slow breathing is extremely helpful for individuals with high levels of anxiety. Reason being, it helps lower your heart rate, making you focus on your breathing rather than on your anxiety and insecurities.

Here is an example of a breathing exercise you can try:

  1. Stand up, shoulders back and hands on your stomach. Let your stomach muscles relax.
  2. Breathe in through your nose, filling up your abdomen (you should feel and see it expand), then your ribs and all the way up to your chin.
  3. Hold this breath and count to 10.
  4. Now exhale slowly. As you exhale, keep your ribs expanded and tighten your abdomen. The lower abdominal muscles should come in first as though you were rolling up a tube of toothpaste.

While you are breathing, check your shoulders and stomach. Your shoulders should not be going up and your stomach should be going out.

b) Stay Hydrated

Ever felt dehydrated seconds before speaking only to find your voice sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? It is essential we stay hydrated before a speech because it prevents your voice from sounding bad and prevents you from being tongue-tied.

This is because stage fright will likely make your body pumped with adrenaline, causing the mouth to dry out. This can lead to the feeling of being tongue-tied.

A sip of water is recommended. Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. Not only can they dry out your mouth and make it harder to talk smoothly, it’ll also amplify your anxiety.

With that said however, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

c) Meditate

According to experts, meditation is a powerful tool to calm the mind.

ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend as well as author of a book titled, 10% Happier recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel calmer.

This is because meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular meditation method. According to experts, this meditation helps lessen anxiety as it makes an individual stop thinking of unnecessary and negative thoughts.

The practice involves focusing on your breathing while bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future.

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with stage fright have in common is focusing too much on themselves. Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? DoI look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m saying?

Too often, most people tend to lose themselves in their self-consciousness and vulnerability. Instead of that, try shifting your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

Rather than keeping their eye on the prize —also known as the audience’s receptivity to their message— they look back at themselves, wondering how they’re doing. At the moment when they need to aim their attentiveness most precisely, they miss the mark by a mile. If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does: like building trust with your audience. This brings us to our next point.

3. Convert negativity to positivity

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one – Hans Selye”

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us. One is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

According to ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend as well as the author of the book titled, 10% Happier, most of us can’t help but have negative thoughts about ourselves. It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we get a chance to prove ourselves.

Also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy, this is a belief that comes true because we’re acting as if it already is. So if you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Knowing this, try to take advantage of this self-fulfilling prophecy by thinking of your strengths and positive thoughts about yourself. Start by saying: I’ll ace this speech and I can do it! Make use of this adrenaline rush into a positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it.

 

4. Understand Your Content.

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps to reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. So one way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech. However, you don’t want to memorize your script word by word. It can work against you should you forget your content.

No amount of reading or memorising will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts – Bob Proctor”

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from the slides. Or, they memorise their script word-for-word without understanding the content and it’s definitely a way to stress themselves out.

According to experts, understanding the content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others. This makes it easier to ‘memorise’ what you want to say because you know what you are talking about. This will then allow you to talk more comfortably as there is one less thing to worry about.

One way to understand is to memorise the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. This helps you speak more naturally and allow your personality to shine through.

Speaking exactly from a memorised script will only make you sound rigid and monotonous – a sure fire way to lose the audience’s interest.

Still, if you need to have a reference just in case you forget your speech, it’s okay to have prompts in your presentation slides or cue cards.

5. Practice Makes Perfect!

Like most people, many of us are not naturally talented when it comes to public speaking. Rarely is there an individual who can walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

Yet, many people seem to mistake that it is possible to do so. Great speakers like John F. Kennedy will spend months preparing his speech beforehand so why shouldn’t you?

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice. Whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Mouth Your Words When Rehearsing

Another method that most speakers use to embed their presentations into their conscience is to ‘mouth’ the words as they rehearse.

Not only do they begin to instinctively memorise your presentation each time you practice, it also aids in muscle memory when you need to deliver the speech on stage naturally.

7. Be Authentic

It’s important to know that there’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience. In fact, public speaking anxiety is incredibly common, so you are not alone.

Learning to be yourself in front of others is an important key factor to overcoming fear of public speaking. Although this seems like a simple method, it is easier said than done. Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self.

If you can drop the pretense of being someone of how you think you should act or speak, you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You’ll realise that the tension and anxiety dissolves. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous.

This makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations like getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing a technical difficulty.

Your listeners will also be engaged as they prefer someone who is authentic and able to connect with them.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic you’re passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend.  It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting

Public speaking does not need to be different. Now, imagine speaking to one audience member at a time when you’re up on stage. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others, may take a little time and some experience depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others but once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

8. Fake It Till You Make It

 The truth is everyone gets nervous, even seasoned speakers. As Mark Twain put it nicely, “There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”

These liars “fake” their confidence despite their insecuritties and reservations about themselves till they succeed. This can be through achieving the desired outcome, overcoming a fear or selling an idea successfully.

When you fake confidence, you naturally create a positive impression of what your capabilities are instantly. This makes you more confident than you actually are.

Embracing that you’ll always get those butterflies in your stomach leading up to your presentation is half the battle won. Learn to harness that flush of adrenaline and energy to engage with your audience early on.

Post Speech

Last but not least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try to see it as a good takeaway to further improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up After a Presentation

We’re the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back. You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve Your Next Speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during your speech. Then, watch the video afterwards and observe what you can do to improve next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Was I tense or stressed? Why?
  • Did I forger or stumble on my words? Why?
  • Did I say “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed and keep practicing and improving. In time, all of your fears of public speaking? It’ll vanish into thin air.

Summing it up

And there you have it, these are the five stepping stones that’ll help you overcome your stage fright and ace your public speaking.

Make full use of the opportunity and apply these tips:

  1. Prepare Yourself Mentally and Physically
  2. Know and Focus On What You Want Out of the Presentation
  3. Understand and Rehearse for the Speech
  4. Practice The Art of Faking Your Confidence or Embrace being You
  5. Learn from the Outcome and Get Feedback to Improve

 

Leave a comment below if it worked for you!

The Ultimate Public Speaking Guide To Impress Any Audience

According to experts, public speaking is one of the most important and beneficial skill sets for your career. It helps to increase confidence and shapes the perception of others about you when you deliver a presentation.

Despite these benefits, however, many seem to fear public speaking. According to experts, roughly 80% of people get increasingly nervous and lose sleep before a big public speaking moment. Some experts even suggest that the fear of public speaking rivals death. Yet, public speaking is inevitable. Many of us, like it or not, will be put in a situation where we will be expected to speak in front of a crowd and these moments can sometimes be career-defining.

If you tirelessly – and unsuccessfully– have been trying to get the butterflies in your stomach to settle down before a public speech, you’re not alone. Here’s an easy to follow public speaking guide (with all the public speaking tips you need) on how you can overcome your fear of public speaking and impress your audience even if you’re a beginner.

1. Prepare for your presentation

A speaker’s worst fear is to see that the audience is bored or has gotten no value from the speech. This is why thoroughly preparing for your presentation is vital.

Here are a few easy steps to prepare and research for your presentation:

Identify the context of the event

If you’re speaking at an industry conference on AI Technology, you can be sure that your audience will include practitioners and technicians in that space. Recycling basic content that they’re already aware in their industry is definitely a way to quickly lose their attention.

Instead, it’s likely you’d want to introduce big ideas that challenge what they already know about the industry currently, where it’s moving towards or new information about the topic.

When Steve Jobs famously unveiled the iPhone in the 2007 Worldwide Developer’s Conference, he was tackling an existing industry norm of buttons on cell phones. Needless to say, his gamble paid off and set the foundation of the smart phones we now know of today.

With that said, Steve’s presentation style might not be for everyone, it’s up to you as a presenter to decide how best to deliver your speech when the time comes.

Know the demographics of the audience

It’s important to know the demographics of your audience because it determines how you can make your tone suitable for them and make the content relevant.

If you’re speaking to audiences from a particular generation, consider including examples that will resonate with them.

Here’s an example: when speaking to millennials, try referencing recent news on developments in technologies they use every day (e.g. SnapChat or Netflix) to be more relevant to them.

Organising your content

You can have the best ideas and content or feel so strongly for a certain issue that you speak of it passionately, but if they aren’t sequenced in the right order, you’re basically back to square one. You may even confuse the audience at the end of your speech since they may not understand what you’re trying to say.

“An outline is basically a blueprint for your presentation.” 

Creating an outline for your speech is essential because it helps organise your content and ensures your message gets across in a coherent and organised manner. Most experts agree that various presentations follow different ‘story arcs’ where they usually fall within three big acts: the Start (or Hook), Middle and Conclusion.

These structures can exist in all sorts of ways such as a Problem, Solution, Call-To-Action type framework for sales. We see this mirrored by numerous presenters where they establish a cause for concern upfront before addressing these concerns with a product or method.

After you’ve decided ideas you’d like to flesh out, begin organising them in an outline that will keep the audience hinged on your every word.

Here is an example of a speech outline:

Basic speech outline template

1. Introduction

  • Establish topic
  • Key message
  • A short summary of the supporting points that will be discussed in detail later on

2. Body 

Supporting Point 1

  • Sub point 1
  • Sub point 2

Supporting Point 2

  • Sub point 1
  • Sub point 2

Supporting Point 3

  • Sub point 1
  • Sub point 2

3. Conclusion

  • Recap the main points
  • Summarise the key message
  • Provide a call-to-action

This formula is simple yet extremely effective. It can commonly be seen in novels, short stories, speeches, movies, reports, business briefings, proposals and many more. So, if you’re unsure of how to start, this outline can help you kickstart organising your content.

Here’s a video of Aimee Mulins telling a story about adversity followed by resolution later on in life:

 

Understand not memorise

After organising your content in the best structure it can be, now comes the hard part – To be able to connect to your audience while knowing your content at the tip of your fingers.

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from the slides or their cue cards as they couldn’t memorise their content word for word. Not only is this sure fire way to lose their audience’s interest, you also sound rigid, monotonous. Boring.

One of the ways to prevent that is to understand what you’re speaking of rather than just plainly memorizing your script. This is because according to experts, understanding the content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others. This makes it easier to ‘memorise’ what  you want to say because you know what you are talking about.

As a result, this will then allow you to talk more comfortably – and naturally– with your audience which in turn makes you connect with them more.

2. Develop a presentation that will captivate your audience

Picking a good topic and conquering your stage fright is half the battle won in public speaking. Putting it all together in a presentation that flows well and that engages your audience is what differentiates a blockbuster speech versus a lackluster talk.

Start strong

It’s been said that the first 30 seconds of your presentation determines whether the audience want to listen to you or not.

Here are some proven ways to grab the attention of your audience:

a) Start with an anecdote

If you can draw relevance to your speech topic – sharing a quick story related to the topic is a great way to appear more relatable and lead audiences into your punchline.

Here are some of the purposes of anecdotes:

  • To lighten the mood

Telling a story can help make people laugh which then brightens their mood. This can prove useful if your audience needs a good laugh before being engaged in your presentation, especially if the topic is a little dry.

  • Caution

Sometimes, the topic we need to talk about are risks and dangers we face. This can be about kidnappings or people falling victim to scams. However, just laying out the rules and regulations for individuals may not be as effective. Sometimes, to get the audience’s attention, we need to hear frightening stories of danger in order to get them to listen. Only then will they follow-up on how to avoid facing these very situations.

  • To Persuade or Inspire

If the topic you are speaking about is a social issue like poverty or sex trafficking, an anecdote can help inspire your audience to do something about it. Of course, anecdotes do not have to serve such specific purposes all the time. They can just be part of a natural conversation with other people.

b) Use an analogy

Analogies are a fun and interesting way to begin your presentation. Comparing two seemingly unrelated things can help build a case for what you’ll say next. Not only that, it can be helpful if you need to explain a complex situation that your audience may not understand.

“Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.” 

This analogy, is often used from the film, Forrest Gump, showing that life has many choices and surprises just like a box of chocolates.

Here are also a few examples of analogies:

  • Life is like a race. The one who keeps running wins the race, and the one who stops to catch a breath loses.
  • Just as a sword is the weapon of a warrior, a pen is the weapon of a writer.
  • How a doctor diagnoses diseases is like how a detective investigates crimes
  • Just as a caterpillar comes out of its cocoon, we must come out of our comfort zone.
  • You are as annoying as nails on a chalkboard.

c) Use a memorable quote

Starting with a memorable quote can help enhance your credibility and reinforce your own claims especially if it comes from notable figures or experts. It can also help inspire the audience which will then make them excited about your idea. The end result? It makes them more engaged with your presentation. Killing two birds with one stone!

Use storytelling techniques

Presentations are hardly ever a one-way dialogue. You’ll want to take measures to engage the audience and make the presentation a conversation.

Try to pose provocative questions or use props.

Asking questions to the floor engages your audience presentation and also demonstrates that you value their opinion on things. In some cases, getting your audiences to visualise problems might be more effectively demonstrated than theorised.

Bill Gates is an iconic example of how using props can really drive a message through. During a TED talk, he released a swarm of mosquitos during his speech to communicate how people from countries with a high level of malaria infection feel.

Another example is Cameron Russell, who talked about how she was just ‘lucky’ to become a model because she was born tall and pretty. In her talk, she showed a simple but effective way to change their mind of her as a model in seconds through the use of props:

 

Use visual aids effectively

Visual aids such as presentation slides are an opportunity to enhance and drive your message home. Furthermore, adding visual aids provide 43% added recall for presentations according to Prezi.

This is because most people learn through visuals, maybe even more than through listening. In fact, one study showed that three days after a presentation, people who only heard a speaker remembered about 10% of the information but those who heard and saw visual information remembered about 55% more.

Here are some reasons why you should use visual aids:

  • Engage the audience’s interest

It can be pretty boring to sit and listen to someone talk on and on but having visual aids will help capture and keep people interested in what you’re saying.

  • Show the depth of a story

Compare saying millions were affected and many homes were lost due to a disaster vs saying the same thing but with an evocative image. Which one would sound much more impactful? By showing an image, it helps show the severity or depth of a situation without having much to say. This can leave a bigger impact on the audience.

  • A picture speaks a thousand words

Putting all the information on a slide may steal the audience’s attention away from you as you’re speaking. To prevent that, make use of evocative images. Not only does it support your speech but it does so without saying much that it steals the attention of your audience.

E.g. picture of disaster that is evocative and memorable

  • Serves as a reminder

Finally, visual aids can serve as notes or reminders for the speaker. When you’re giving a speech, it can be very nerve-wracking to the point you could forget what to say. Having visual aids help you remember what you want to say and keeps you from going off topic.

3. Overcome your nerves and stage fright

Picture this: moments before your speech, your heart’s pounding profusely in anticipation for what’s coming next. You step behind the podium and all eyes are on you. The pressure becomes overwhelming and you freeze, unable to utter a single word.

Stage fright. Also known as imposter syndrome. It is an expectation that makes us think we have to perform but we fear that we could make a mistake and embarrass ourselves.

According to statistics, at least 75% of people get stage fright when they present or make a speech. It’s even been long known that public speaking outranks even death as the top fear of most individuals. This then leads to the question – how do the pros make it look so easy?

Stretch

If you are nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. You may find that your body is tense, breaking in cold sweat or you may feel stiff and your muscles are tight. The audience will notice you are nervous. If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen your tense muscles and relax your body.

Breathe

When you are nervous, do you tend to breathe faster and take shorter breaths? Nervousness is always accompanied by these very symptoms and if not addressed, you may end up mumbling and stuttering your way throughout the speech. To ensure that does not happen, take slow, deep breaths. This is because it helps lower your heart rate and make you focus on your breathing rather than on your anxiety and insecurities.

Fake it till You Make it

The truth is everyone gets nervous, even seasoned speakers. As Mark Twain put it nicely: “There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”

These liars “fake” their confidence despite their insecurities and reservations about themselves till they succeed. This can be through achieving a desired outcome, overcoming a fear or selling an idea successfully.

When you fake confidence, you naturally create a positive impression of what your capabilities are instantly, making you more confident than you actually are.

With that being said faking confidence is not always the best answer because it isn’t real confidence. But sometimes, we need to fake confidence because we don’t have the luxury to build this skillset since it takes time and effort to develop.

Be conversational and authentic

It’s easy to have a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. Public speaking does not need to be that different. Imagine speaking to one audience member at a time when you’re up on stage and you’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

Presenters like Elon Musk sometimes appear comical on stage, but always authentic. He does so by speaking directly to the audience and in a language they can understand:

 

Know your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips help reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. So one way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech. However, you don’t want to memorise your script word by word. It can work against you should you forget your content.

Instead, memorise the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch as it helps you speak more naturally. This will let your personality shine through. Speaking exactly from a memorised script may make you sound rigid and robotic.

Still, if you need to have a reference just in case you forget your speech, it is okay to have prompts in your slides or cue cards.

Mouth your words when rehearsing

Another method that most speakers use to embed their presentations into their conscience is to ‘mouth’ the words as they rehearse.

Not only do you begin to instinctively memorise your presentation each time you practice, it also aids in muscle memory when you need to deliver the speech on stage naturally.

4. Deliver an impressive speech

We’ve gone from prepping for a presentation, to finding ways to engage your audience with presentations and combating stage fright. All that is left with is for the speaker to steal the show by delivering an impressive performance during the speech.

Here are some things you’ll want to take note of to ensure you’re in tip-top shape when it’s show time:

Hand gestures

Seasoned speakers swear by this and amateur speakers use it to great success. Hand gesturing is a great way to avoid looking stiff and awkward on stage. Furthermore, consultant Vanessa Van Edwards who studies famous TED talks observed that popular speakers are the ones that who used their hands the most.

A key tip is to have your hands held high above your waist at all times and let your hands gesture naturally as you talk. This makes you look more confident and also helps you engage well with the audience.

To signify something small, pinch your fingers and if its big, feel free to gesture your hands widely in the air. However, never point. It can be interpreted as aggressive, unwelcoming and off-putting to many in the crowd.

Body language

What great speakers have in common is how confident they are. Just like any other human being out there, these people also get the jitters before every speech – even great speakers like John F. Kennedy spent months preparing his speech beforehand.

Most people struggle to sound confident and it’s okay. This is because, at times, confidence is not all about how you speak but through your body language.

Standing tall with good posture can do wonders for your perceived confidence and your actual performance. Using big hand gestures while standing firmly on your feet, a shoulder width apart, helps even the most nervous presenters open up on stage.

“Our bodies change our minds and our minds change our behaviours, and our behaviour changes our outcome.” – Social Psychologist, Amy Cudd.

Small gestures like these give signs to your audience on how to think and feel about you and whether they should listen to you in the first few seconds of your presentation. Hence, it is important to take note of your body language as it is a stepping stone to make you feel or at least look confident – even if you’re not.

Tone of voice

Your voice plays a critical role in your success as a presenter. According to an analysis of media appearances by 120 top financial communicators, the sound of a speaker’s voice matters twice as much as the content of the message and even an evaluation found one of the most popular TED talks concluded these very speakers have 30.5% higher vocal variety than other speakers that are less popular.

Technical speakers focus a lot on how they train their voice as they articulate words. Some use a higher pitch when communicating an idea with energy and a lower pitch in solemn instances.

In short, it is about matching your emotions to the idea. For example, if you are sharing a sad story, it only makes sense to match that mood with your voice in a lower tone and volume.

Pause and emphasis

Pauses and emphasis are a powerful tool in a presenter’s arsenal. When used purposefully in the right moment, it can create a dramatic flair to further reinforce what you have said, make the audience ponder over a topic or it can provide time for the audience to let the message sink in. It’s basically a ‘full-stop’ used but in spoken word.

Check out how to master the pausing technique from Brian Tracy:

Connecting with the audience

Many understand confidence is essential when delivering a speech or presentation in order to get the message across but many forget that engaging with the audience is also what hooks them to your presentation/speech.

There are many ways to engage with the audience such as asking questions, holding eye contact or even finding out the demographics of your audience to shape your speech’s tone and content to what’s relevant to them.

Practice, practice, practice!

Like most people, many of us are not naturally talented when it comes to public speaking. Rarely is there an individual who can walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation yet many people seem to mistake that it is possible to do so.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

Time management

Ending too early or too late can spell trouble for speakers that are on the clock for an event’s schedule. At times, event schedules get delayed and leave little time for speakers to deliver their full speech.

The key tip to avoid an awry moment is to be very familiar with your content and to practice several versions of your presentation at varying durations.

Summing it up

And there you have it, these four big steps are what will help you ace your public speaking.

Don’t shy away from your next chance to speak in public. Instead, make full use of the opportunity and apply these public speaking tips:

  1. Study your audience before preparing your topic
  2. Develop a presentation that will captivate your audience
  3. Overcome your nerves and stage fright
  4. Never Wing It. Practice Your Voice, movement and time-keeping

 

Leave a comment below if it worked for you!

6 Top Sales Techniques and Why They Work

No matter whether it’s the classic Pac-Man or a mind-boggling Sudoku puzzle, there is a technique to win in every game. The same goes for sales. There are certain techniques that can help one achieve unreachable targets. With this list of top sales techniques, you’re all set to turn those impossible targets into reality.

1. Internal Evaluation

The top mistake that most sales teams make is jumping straight to selling services and products. Making profit. Little do these teams know, understanding your teammates and company from the inside out goes a long way. Without the fundamentals of a proper sales structure, and how your team works, you may encounter many difficulties in the sales process. In order to avoid such mistakes, here are three questions to assess your team’s dynamics and progress – What are the methods to monitor sales results? Has your team been hitting the sales target? How is your sales compensation system like?

a) What are the methods used to monitor sales results?

The very first step is to understand your own sales results. The crux of this understanding lies not in values and numbers but a consistent variable to measure results. This variable will be used throughout a long period of time in cohesion with the company’s goals. Besides the usual KPI, a constant variable can be calculated using distinct formulas such as the percentage of revenue, close ratio or productivity level.

These statistics are important as it will provide valuable insight for the following your team’s performance as well as identifying key areas where some extra help could come in handy for your company/product.

Having a consistent measurement also ensures to aid your sales team to compare and contrast sales results currently and results from months or years ago. It also helps the team to focus on a clear goal.

For example, your company is trying to drive up sales from new customers. One way to go about doing this is by using the number of sales closed. With the help of a supportive compensation plan, your sales team will be driven towards closing sales from new customers. With the fundamentals of identification covered, a sales dashboard can be very helpful in managing them. It aids your team in measuring and tracking sales results, as well as giving them a specific direction to aim for.

b) Has your team been hitting the sales target?

If the answer is no, the reason is because your team has not identified their ultimate goal. Here’s an example: Say you want an A for that test. In order to do that, you need to achieve a goal like 80 marks an above to get the grade. However, to reach that goal, you need to make a plan to study consistently every day before the exam – likewise with sales.

A goal is the primary result you and your team wants to achieve.
The plan or objectives are the measurable strategies used to achieve this ultimate goal.

Fitzhugh Dodson once said, “Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”

Without a specific goal and plan, your team will be heading aimlessly into the abyss of the corporate world. Discuss and ensure the team’s goal is aligned and then once this is established, make a plan to achieve that goal.

Having a target set, be it for individuals or a team, helps to give a gauge of the progress made. Using details such as the difference between target and actual sales will provide a better differentiation between salesmen.

With your newly found information, you are now able to strategize your other sales techniques better.

Forming sub-teams is an alternative to this problem. Pairing the lowest performing members with the best performers can motivate them to do better while giving your top salesmen a chance to mentor and lead others.

c) How is your sales compensation system like? Does it promote the right attitude at work?

Different cultures in companies may affect what kind of benefit staff are motivated by. To do so, company must know their staff and how they work. For example, Company X motivates their employees through compliments and acknowledgement vs Company Y that motivates their staff by providing bonuses/promotions.

The truth is, people are motivated by benefits presented to them. However, knowing what type of benefit motivates them is another story. For some, a compensation plan can help. Be it team dinners or commissions, it has to be attractive enough to propel your team towards self-driven sales.

Besides keeping them hungry for sales, it is also a good way to keep aligned with the company’s goals as mentioned before. For other companies, they maybe be motivated differently.

2. Value Parity V.S. Value Wedge


https://corporatevisions.com/value-proposition/

Value parity is that overlapping space where you realize that your business holds similarities with others in the same industry. Putting yourself in that tier makes your product a dime in a dozen. Why should customers buy your product when it’s the same like every other product out in the market?

On the other hand, value wedge is something that differentiates you from your competitors. Something that makes your product/company stand out from the crowd.

Thus, it’s natural to focus on your value wedge. This difference between you and your competitors acts as an advantage. But how do you know what your value wedge is?

First of all, your value wedge has to be unique. It has to be something which only you will have or be able to provide. Aside from that, it has to be important to the customer. It doesn’t make sense to have a value wedge without a unique selling point or something your prospects could care less about.

Second of all, your value wedge has to be defensible. When customers start questioning the different options available, those who fail to justify their uniqueness will always be at the losing end. For instance, most companies in the interior design industry are able to provide similar services. If you are the owner of an interior design company which can provide services at a lower cost, try tapping into this selling point as your value wedge and prospects will be keener to choose you over your competitors.

Being able to differentiate yourself through a value wedge will help you in narrowing down the unique strengths that you can use in encouraging prospects to choose your product amongst the many in the market.

sales technique number three be an effective listener-

3. Be An Effective Listener

Being an effective listener is always harder than it seems to be. When we jump straight into getting the prospect to understand our value wedge, we tend to get ahead of ourselves and miss out important details about the prospect.

The moment someone thinks you’re not listening, you’ve lost them. Besides the importance of being heard by you, an effective listener has to sieve out information from your prospect. Through the different cues given, you will be able to craft your pitch better. These hidden clues such as how they’re feeling or thinking can only be spotted by listening.

Being an effective listener will generally help you in bringing about a positive impression to your prospects while gathering hints from them regarding their business. When they know you’re listening, they usually go one step further telling you more about them.

Source: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/active-listening.html

So what is active listening? Active Listening is fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker. It involves listening with all senses.

Another way to demonstrate active listening is through questions. It is the easiest and fastest way to get quality answers from your prospect. The most important part of this interaction process is to learn more about their pain points and help them solve it. It provides better insights on the issues and how you are able to play a part in it.

Observing Body Language is also another form of active listening. By observing their body language, one can understand how they feel and think as well. One example is mirroring. If you catch your prospects mirroring your actions, it can be deduced that they are comfortable with you and keen to know more. However, if their feet are facing in an outward fashion, they might be indicating that they are feeling uncomfortable.

Provide a summary

After gathering information from your prospect through listening and questioning, you may want to do a summary in your own words of the things covered. During this process, you will be able to clarify any doubts or misconceptions while aligning both visions. Doing so will bring you across as someone who is attentive to details and willing to take time to understand the pains of their business.

sales technique be empathetic

4. Build sustainable long-term business relationships with clients

No one likes to be sold to – buyers prefer to be guided to make their own decision. As a salesperson, you’re meant to facilitate the sales process, not dominate it. With the constant need to meet targets within tight time frames, many sales professionals struggle to empathise with their clients.

To overcome this, sales professionals need to understand that the only way to build sustainable long-term business relationships with their clients is for them to first buy you as a person. Only then, will they be willing to buy what you sell. One of the best ways for your prospects to buy into you is empathy. This is the sales professional’s’ ability to understand a given pain, situation or challenge from the prospect‘s point of view and provide on point solutions and responses that build trust.

There are many ways to exercise empathy in the sales process with your prospects, which can range from body language to verbal expressions. One other way a sales professional can exercise empathy is to understand the D.I.S.C personality model which provides a very simple but effective understanding of the 4 main personality traits and how people with different traits like to deal with people, challenges, and tasks. Understanding this allows the sales professional to prepare their appointments and information in a way that their prospects’ will be receptive to.

sales technique have a script for calls

5. Crafting scripts to counter commonly faced objections

Rejection should not be a foreign word to salespeople. You may be wondering how you should deal with it or maybe how can you turn those objections into yes-es.

This is when you will identify the common reasons for rejections. Gather your team, list them down and start brainstorming for solutions. Some things which should be covered during this process include:

a) The cause of rejection (eg. too pricey, do not need the service now)
b) What are some problems they face?
c) How can we turn that around?

Here is an example of using this sales technique:

The cause of rejection?
Limited budget set aside for the service.

How can we turn that around?
One way to counter this is to offer an installment plan or to provide reasons for the high price. You can justify the price by showing how it includes premium services or service customization, and mention that the customer is paying more for something that is of better quality and tailored towards their needs.

This may be a very tedious process which could take up to a few days to complete. However, through this, you have formulated the ultimate cheat sheet for your sales team. With the script in your hands, you and your team will be much more prepared for any common objection and be better equipped to tackle these difficulties.

For a more comprehensive guide on how to tackle rejections, you might want to cover the different approaches towards different personality types as well.

sales technique number five follow up

6. Follow-Ups

According to a research done, 80% of sales requires at least 5 follow-ups. This shows the importance of building a continuous relationship when it comes to sales. You may receive empty replies or rejections, but it is always good to continue working on building rapport with your prospects.

The beauty of follow-ups is the personalized customer service each prospect receives, which makes them feel important and valuable to the company. Even if you receive an initial ‘no’, doing follow-ups provides you with leverage over your competitors as the prospect is likely to think of you first when future opportunities arise.

Follow-up methodologies in the sales process vary from one industry to another. Suffice to say, it’s important for sales professionals as it allows them to keep in constant contact with the prospect in hopes that somewhere along the way, the prospect will convert into a client. Many times, longer sales cycles are due to industry-specific trends and not particularly affected by the quality of the salesperson. In these cases, following up religiously is a salesperson’s best bet for securing a sale.

One challenge many sales professionals face is asking for a follow-up. Studies show that the chances of closing significantly increases during the 5-8th appointment. The only way you can have that many appointments is if the prospect wants to meet you and for him to meet you, you need to have something new to offer or give every single time. Hence be sure not to “reveal” everything that you have or know in the first meeting, this will give you an opportunity to schedule another appointment with the prospect.

Having this in mind, here are some age-old principles that you can use to evaluate the quality of your follow-up so that you eventually get the opportunity to convert your prospects to clients.

a) Be consistent – Ask for permission to follow-up, determine the frequency and do that consistently unless the client requests an earlier response.

b) Value – Each follow-up should be different and progressive from the one before. It should respond to a NEED or WANT

c) Consolidate – After every follow-up meeting, consolidate what was discussed and indicate next steps

So here you have it, the top sales techniques right at your fingertips. Remember to keep on practicing and perfect those persuasive techniques of yours.

  1. Internal Evaluation
  2. Value Parity VS Value Wedge
  3. Be an Active Listener
  4. Crafting scripts to counter commonly faced objections
  5. Follow-Ups

Leave a comment below if it worked for you!

3 Public Speaking Tips Every Presenter Must Know

When it comes to public speaking, even the most confident-looking individuals may stumble when faced with a sizable audience. When provided with a powerful platform for sharing messages and ideas, it can be tricky to deliver an excellent performance without losing your nerve. This is why politicians, industry experts, and various performers have allocated a good portion of their lives to acquire the necessary skills to excel in this endeavor.

There are several factors that come into play when speaking to the public: you have to be mindful of how you present yourself; the content of your speech; and how you relay your message. You have to take on a calculative approach while preparing because it will affect you far longer than the time you’re on stage. Improving your skills in public speaking skills can help in generating more awareness for your organization or cause after your engagement is over.

To assist you in preparing for this daunting task, here are three fundamental public speaking tips to knock your next speech out of the park:

Prioritize preparation

public speaking tip: preparing structure, design and story for your speech

Structure, Design, and Stories

Always trust your instincts if you think you’re not 100% prepared. Preparation is key when it comes to public speaking as it allows you to organize your content properly, as well as make it more impactful.

Taking more time to prepare will allow you to add enlightening elements by including personal elements like anecdotes, stories and also let you work on your presentation design. It’s also advisable to watch videos of public speaking professionals on stage to see how they’ve performed and/or how they were able to craft their speeches.

The first stage of preparation is to get into the right mental state where you’ve done the work to build the foundation of your upcoming speech with your stories, slides and the outcome you want to achieve.

Don’t memorize, internalize the delivery

It’s said that the best presenters don’t memorize their speech. Instead, you want to familiarize yourself with the overall structure of the presentation and rather than recite the words verbatim, seek to be conversational.

Intently familiarizing yourself with your content as well as the underlying ideas behind it will lead you to have an easier time in conveying your message in a way that’s authentic and natural.

Try to talk through the presentation out loud and fill in the blanks without memorizing your script, you’ll find that you’re comfortable to even present it without presentation slides or holding a script because the story tends to come out more naturally in speech.

Study your audience

public speaking tip: know your audience before giving your presentation

Part of succeeding in public speaking is making sure that your talk is relevant to the audience.
For example: Speaking to a group of executives about that latest video game will leave your message falling flat even before you’ve truly started to connect.

Create a general evaluation of the demographic present for your speech to reach out to them in the right way.

Level of comprehension

Speaking at a high-level to a novice audience and on a basic level for a technically erudite audience is a public speaking sin you’d want to avoid.

Try to get a hint of the general populace of the audience you’re speaking to and how knowledgeable they are. Are you speaking to senior executives or ones that just joined the company? Are you talking to subject matter experts or sales people that are on the ground?

Different audiences call for different tones and words that you choose to use.

Consider Culture

When presenting in a foreign country, you’d want to pay attention to any cultural differences to avoid a faux pas. Consider if the references you want to make are appropriate or offensive, consider whether the way you’re dressing is well accepted in those communities too.

These considerations will also affect whether you deliver your presentation using a more formal approach or try to adopt a more comedic and lighthearted style of delivery.

Here’s a video of Seth Godin speaking at the Gel Conference with a touch of humor. When speaking to an audience of creatives and marketers, this can be considered apt. If it was an event with a more serious tone or in a conservative society Japan, for instance, this style might not be so appropriate.

Reference Industry Terms

A great way to quickly build rapport and authority with audiences is when you use words that they use in their line of work.

Making your presentation relevant to their every day is a public speaking technique to be adhered to. Spending a little extra time to do a quick Google search to pick up on industry buzzwords and happenings can quickly help you establish common ground with a skeptical audience.

People appreciate it when speakers actually take them into account when preparing for the speech. No matter how hard you may try, the likelihood is that audiences will instantly know if you are insufficiently or altogether unfamiliar with the type of people you’re speaking to.

As general as your topic might be, it’s always better to study your audience first before speaking to them to leave a better impression.

Present an engaging personality

 

obama when public speaking tips

Regardless of the kind of audience you have, however, there is one thing that they always want – an engaging speaker. Even though you’re speaking in public, many people might prefer someone who speaks as if they’re in a private or intimate conversation. A connection is vital in effectively conveying your message, which is your sole objective at the end of the day.

You’re putting forth your own words and methodologies to be absorbed by people who might not be familiar with them. If you don’t share these in an engaging way, you’re setting up yourself for failure.

Take into account your vocal tone, body language, facial expressions, and timing when preparing for a speech. Even simple gestures can significantly contribute to your presentation.

To illustrate, some hand gestures include: placing it on your chest to emphasize an emotional point; showing a number through your fingers after saying it; and using both hands to represent two separate groups. Subtle cues such as these help your audience to keep track of the presentation not only mentally, but visually as well.

Amy Cuddy shares about the power of positive body language and gestures in her widely-acclaimed TED talk:

In addition, you always have to be the first to put in a lot of energy, which is a big ask in a room of anything more than a hundred people. Otherwise, your audience probably won’t have any enthusiasm left to listen until you finish. By doing all of this, you can bridge the divide between you and your listeners. It can also compel them to ask questions at the end, or even try to make your acquaintance once you step off the stage.

Here’s an example of Tony Robbins commanding the stage as one man with a boundless well of energy, notice his exaggerated hand gestures that come in useful when working with a large audience:

Without a doubt, an engaging personality can take you much further in public speaking when managed properly.

Your first foray into public speaking can be nerve-wracking. The best way to circumvent the nervousness is to consistently seek out more public speaking opportunities and perfect your process of preparation. Some of the best presenters of our time still admit to being nervous before their presentations, but they’ve learned to harness that energy to do an even better job!

To summarize, here are the three big public speaking tips that you need to know to boost your next speech:

  1. Prioritize preparation time to garner your public speaking ammunition in the form of stories, visuals, and delivery ability
  2. Study your audiences intimately to ensure you provide relevant content they want to hear about
  3. Present an engaging personality that people want to connect with better hand gestures and energy

Did you enjoy those public speaking tips? Let us know what else you’d like to see in the comments.

Clicker Review: Logitech Spotlight Wireless Presenter

Say hello to a whole new method of doing your presentation with Logitech Spotlight wireless presenter. Unlike your traditional laser pointer, this new technology allows you to highlight your key points with a “spotlight” that highlights an area of emphasis on your screen. The buttons are perfectly positioned for use, so you’ll never have to experience the anxiety of fumbling with an awkwardly positioned button on your wireless presenter. Everything about this pointer spells sleekness, minimalism and ergonomic design.

Naturally, at the office, we’re all ecstatic about getting to try it as presentation professionals. But with a hefty price tag, is it worth it?

Well, here is our official HighSpark review:

When I first held it, I couldn’t help but notice how light and simple it was. With only three buttons and a USB dongle inserted at one end, the Logitech Spotlight does away with distracting switches, panels and buttons characteristic of other pointers and presenter remotes in the market.The lightweight pointer measures only 0.48 x 1.10 x 1.59 in. and is portable enough to be taken anywhere for any presentation. It also comes in three different colours – black, silver and gold. The smooth, brushed metal surface was reminiscent of the time I first held my Macbook in my arms. The remote feels sturdy enough that it won’t spoil if you drop it during use and light enough that it won’t tire the presenter out.

Charging the presenter remote

This remote can hold a really mean charge. On a one-minute charge, the Logitech Spotlight presenter remote can last for up to 3-hours! It works with any universal micro-USB charging wire so if you’re on Android, you can use the same wire! There’s a jack right below the presenter remote that allows you to fit your wires into the sleek body of the remote without any need to change batteries every time it runs out of juice. The only gripe I had with this is because the wire insertion point is buried deep into the base of the remote – it’s a little cumbersome to insert the charger wire inside the body.

Setting Up The Logitech Spotlight Presenter

Setting up was a no-brainer. To link up your laptop with the pointer, simply download the app from the official website, insert the dongle and you’re good to go. The Logitech Spotlight can be connected to both laptops and mobile phones via Bluetooth or USB Type C. For some extra help on using the pointer, an intuitive tutorial is available to guide you through the process of setting up and mastering all its functions. That being said, previous editions of Logitech’s presenter remotes don’t require special software. So if you’re not keen on installing the plugin before using the remote, this presenter remote might not be for you.

Wireless Presenter Functions

Once the initial setup is done, the fun begins. The new Logitech Spotlight takes pride in the level of customization made available to its users and puts the ‘fun’ in ‘functional’. You now have the power to decide the controls of the three buttons – the pointer, next button and back button.

Customize Keystrokes

The Spotlight’s app provides multiple customization options to create that perfect user experience. For example, holding on to the next button could lead you to a blank screen, volume control or even a customized keystroke. By eliminating extra actions needed to achieve certain results, it brings you closer to a seamless presentation.

Spotlight

Just like its name suggests, the Logitech Spotlight’s star feature is its spotlight function. This function enables you to draws your audience’s attention to a specific area of focus using a round “spotlight” against a darkened background. Now, you are able to bring your viewers through your presentation and highlight important points without losing their focus. With the help of the app, you are also able to customize the spotlight’s features to include coloured highlights, or even magnify information within the area of focus. Depending on your personal preference and the type of presentation you’re giving, you can afford to make some quick customizations to make the pointer cursor fit your own style.

Timer

In addition to the spotlight function, the pointer also comes with a timer – a lifesaver for all presenters who find it challenging to keep an eye on the clock during their presentations. Not only will the device count down the remaining time you have for your presentation, it can also send you a vibration alert when the time is almost up. All the alerts can be adjusted through the app to ensure that you never overrun your presentations again.

Using Logitech Spotlight at Work

 

My colleague and I decided to give the Logitech Spotlight a go at our presentation design workshop for DBS Bank a couple of weeks ago. During the workshop, we covered multiple topics, from graphs to typography, and the pointer definitely helped in bringing across the highlighted information more powerfully. Unsurprisingly, the Spotlight remote stole the show – our participants were impressed by the technology and many approached us with queries on how they could get their hands on one as well. Being presenters themselves, problems such as getting the audience to focus on key points or needing to zoom into specific data were familiar challenges they had to deal with for almost every presentation. With the Logitech Spotlight, these problems can easily be solved without too much work.

We also had our sales trainer David King test it out during his latest sales training course too! Naturally, he found it to be a breath of fresh air versus conventional wireless presenter remotes.

david using logitech spotlight wireless presenter

That said, the only drawback was that he had to take a good 10 minutes to download the plugin, install the software and get up to speed on how to use the remote for the first time. After that, it was smooth sailing!

Overall Thoughts On The Spotlight Presenter Remote

Using the pointer has been a breeze so far. For my first presentation, I glided through with minimal time wastage and barely any technical trouble when using the remote. Plus, the Logitech Spotlight is also compatible with most types of presentation software, including PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi and even Google Slides, which makes it a handy tool for most presenters, including myself as I like to dabble with different software.

However, at the price of $128, the Logitech Spotlight can be considered to be a little pricey as compared to other pointers available in the market. If you are a student or an occasional presenter, this might not be the best option for you if you’re on a budget. But if you’re a public speaker or sales professional who depends on delivering effective and powerful presentations it for a living, I would say it is a pretty good investment in your business. After all, the Logitech Spotlight’s ease of use and high functionality makes it the perfect companion for any presenter looking to achieve a seamless, impressive presentation.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s great about the Logitech Spotlight Presenter Remote:

Pros:

  • Easy to setup
  • Durable and great to hold
  • Very useful proprietary highlight function that increases the effectiveness of your presentations
  • Vibrates when time is almost up
  • Ability to customize keystrokes to the buttons
  • No-frills design to avoid any fumbling during your presentations
  • Really great battery life and no need for AAA batteries
  • Works on numerous types of software

Cons:

  • Need to install software before use
  • It’s a little pricey
  • Switching between functions is a tad bit difficult with a single function
  • Vibration takes awhile to get used to.
  • Highlight function might be distracting if over-used
  • Charging point is a little too deep into the remote that makes it hard to insert the USB

 

logitech spotlight wireless presenter high-res shot with dslr with bokeh

Did you manage to get a chance to try the remote? How did you find it? Leave us a comment!