An amazing client of mine sent me an e-mail the other day while she was at a conference. “Ugh! These speakers are so boring!” I hear this a whole lot.
Speakers have a hard time maintaining the audience’s attention, let alone getting them to follow their call to action. One is dependant on the other. You must keep their attention before you can get them to do what you ask them to.
Did you ever go to a presentation so excited about the topic but find yourself thinking about what you’re going to have for lunch? That’s because the speaker didn’t make his presentation interesting.
It isn’t your fault! It’s the fault of the speaker!
Compelling public speakers.
You know the ones: Authoritative style, true and consistent verbal brand, serious executive presence. Their speech is succinct and they’re super likable. They take complex concepts and deliver them in a way that nearly anyone can understand all the while still seeming like a genius.
If your presentations are less than compelling have no fear! You can be just like those engaging and charismatic public speakers! But this doesn’t have to be the case.
If you’re going to present in front of an audience of any size, you absolutely need to know how to make your presentations interesting.
Scroll down to the How to Make Presentations Interesting section if you want to skip the background and get right to the tips.
Powerful & Persuasive Presentations
Information is abundant & folks are busy these days, and if you’re going to take up people’s time, you better be keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. You’ve got to learn how to make presentations interesting.
Your Speech Can Be More Interesting
I spend quality time with my clients. We work together weekly for a couple of months at a stretch, so I get to learn a lot about them and their lives.
They almost always have people in their lives who could benefit from communication skills training, but they feel like they can’t tell them. They just don’t feel comfortable saying, “Hey, I noticed you keep getting interrupted in meetings,” or “Your ideas aren’t being conveyed as well in front of a group as they are when you’re with me,” or “Your speeches are pretty boring. You should go to my speech coach & learn some awesome presentation techniques.” These aren’t exactly easy messages to deliver.
Here’s the bad news: No one is gonna tell you your presentation is boring. No one is going to tell you that you just aren’t that convincing.
When you’re done with the pitch that you’ve poured hours into, everyone will just pat you on the back & say, “Good job.” “You did great!” Even at Toastmasters, you can’t always count on great, candid feedback.
I spent years as a member at Toastmasters & I loved it. It provides a great, supportive platform for you to practice your newfound skills.
But most people’s feedback wasn’t on the money. That’s ok. Most people have their own wheelhouses & haven’t made communication their life’s work. I have.
How to Make Presentations Interesting
Following are the steps you can take to make your presentations exciting & amazing. This is what will get people following your call to action and wanting more from you. Remember, all of these steps hold true for all speech, but they must be somewhat exaggerated as the size of the audience increases.
- Use a varied intonation pattern. Think of the length of time you spend on a syllable and the volume of that syllable. If a word or syllable within a word has a lot of information, you increase the duration of time you spend and the volume.
- Use Pauses. Do not be afraid of pauses! They are your friend! Remember this: You are in the future thinking about what you are going to say & your listeners are in the past processing what you’ve just said. Pauses get you both in the present. Also, you can divide by half the amount of time you perceive a pause is, and your listeners perceive your pauses to be.
Say something striking right off the bat. Please don’t start the presentation by telling people the time of day. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen” should be accompanied by a pillow and a blanket.
Please don’t make “thank you for coming” one of your first lines. What you can do is ask the audience a question. Or make a bold statement. You’ve got to get the audience’s attention straight off the bat.
- Use Fewer Words. You’ll want to learn how to articulate your thoughts into words. Record yourself (gasp!) giving your talk and then write down only the skeleton. The meat of the message. This is how you find out where you’re redundant and explaining things in an overly complex way. Streamline, folks.
- Remove all Undermining and Passive Language from your Presentation. I don’t need to say “filler words,” do I? In Time Out New York (in 1998!!), I was quoted saying, “Replace your filler words with pauses,” and it’s still applicable today.
Also, don’t start with, “I won’t take up much of your time.” You’ll just seem nervous & like you don’t want to be there. And take “actually,” “well,” and “that” out of the talk as much as possible.
- Repeat Yourself. As much as I want you to eliminate & reduce the amount of low-value words you use, I want you to increase the high-value content. If something is that important say it once, stop & look around at everyone, and repeat it. Then stop & smile.
- Look at your audience. When you’re practicing in an empty room or even a colleague, pretend the room is as big as and as full as it’s going to be. This role-playing exercise will help you to look at your audience while you’re presenting.
More on Interesting Presentations
Here’s a video on something you’re likely doing wrong when you’re presenting or in other anxiety-ridden speaking situations like pitches, job interviews, first dates, etc.
No, I’m not professionally gussied up, but that’s how much I love you guys! I’m here to help you & I’ll look dorky on a video if I think it’s going to help 🙂
If you want to be an exciting & magnetic communicator on & off the stage go get an assessment from a speech coach (you can contact me) Most of them are free in the hopes you’ll sign up. You end up with all the presentation techniques you’ll need to sound amazing.
There’s another side to this story. If you do notice that one of your dear colleagues is a bit boring or says too many “um”s, be their friend and let them know. In private, of course. The talented Kim Scott recommends using Radical Candor when communicating with your employees. It’ll make you a great leader.
Go Ahead & Make Your Presentations Interesting!
Developing your communication skills is essential to getting ahead in this world. Nobody was born an amazing speaker in high-anxiety situations. Everyone you know who’s great at pitching, presenting & telling stories when the pressure’s on has worked on it! No will tell you your presentation is boring so just go ahead & make it more exciting!
Tell me what you think! Not about me deep conditioning my hair & skin while simultaneously doing a video for public viewing–but about presenting & communicating in anxiety-ridden situations. And how to make presentations interesting. Also, if you have anyone in your life who was able to give you great feedback. And how you give feedback to others 🙂