We’ve all been there. You’re sitting in the conference room for a business presentation and you start to nod off. You zone out, you’ve stopped listening to the person up at the top of the room giving the presentation. Here are five key business presentation skills you can learn so that you can captivate your audience of staff or potential clients when it’s your turn to give one.
By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak
You know what a boring business presentation is like to sit through.
When the speaker’s voice has become so dull and annoying that it starts to sound like a mosquito buzzing in your ear.
But are you aware of the pitfalls so that you can avoid them next them you stand up to deliver a presentation?
Follow these five steps to avoid the Death by Monotony presentation.
First: How to Know What Makes a Boring Business Presentation
So what’s happening?
Most of the time this unfortunate situation arises because the presenter has fallen into the Monotony Trap.
They speak from one place in their voice in one rhythm and don’t vary either one at all, and this happens without them even knowing it.
Now, this could be someone your know. It could—let’s face it—even be you and you don’t even know it.
A monotone vocal delivery is one of the worst sins and most common mistakes you can make when it comes to public speaking. Luckily, there are lots of skills and voice coaching techniques you can implement to prevent it.
Here are just a few tips you can use to stay out of the monotony trap and keep your audience interested and engaged.
The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 1: Vary Your Pitch
Here’s one basic fact of physiology.
The ear needs to be entertained and kept interested
So first off, vary your pitch.
Pitch is your vocal range, it’s the movement in tone between the top of your vocal range and the bottom and everywhere in between. (We’ve written a whole article on pitch range and its importance here.)
As children, we naturally have a varied vocal range. As we learn to speak we explore the range of sound our voices can make.
Then as we grow older, something happens. We start to have opinions and start editing ourselves. We start to become self-conscious.
One big mistake we make is thinking that a deep, weighty, monotonous tone for credibility, maturity and gravity.
In short, we stop using the full range of our voices.
Experiment with your vocal range—it’s there for a reason. Remember that the ear needs to be entertained and kept interested so change it up, vary your tone, and use the full range of your vocal pitches.
Here’s a great example:
The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 2: Do Not Underestimate the Power Of Articulation & Pace
Next, make sure you’re articulating and speaking clearly and slowly.
It may seem obvious but do not underestimate the power of clarity.
We may have heard our message a hundred times but we forget our audience is hearing it for the first time. Everyone can afford to slow down their delivery.
We often rush and end up mumbling our words together because we want to get through the material as quickly as possible or are afraid of forgetting what we have to say next.
Think into your consonants, breathe, and you will slow down. This eliminates rushing and your audience will thank you for it.
The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 3: Use of Pause
Pause is perhaps the most effective and underused of voice coaching techniques.
Pause is powerful, so learn to understand and use the power of pause in public speaking.
Former US President Barack Obama is a good example of someone who uses pause well and often.
We can implement pauses to gain different effects.
When we pause before a word or phrase, it creates the classic tension—release.
And when we pause after it, it allows the audience a moment for the information to sink in.
When we use pause, we also vary the pace of our delivery. Varying our pace and using pause keeps the rhythm of our vocal delivery varied and keeps the ear from falling asleep.
The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 4: Volume & Breath
What’s one key objective that too few people think about in speaking.
The need to be heard!
When it comes to volume, this where breathing properly comes in handy.
If you are getting enough breath into your lungs, you won’t have to worry about being heard because your voice will be supported.
Remember, breath = fuel for the voice.
We’re not talking about shouting here.
There’s a big difference between having a supported, resonant sound that fills the space and shouting. The former is about generosity, the latter is unpleasant and off-putting.
The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 5: Make a Recording
Finally, record yourself. Whether it’s your iPhone or your laptop, video taping yourself when you’re rehearsing has never been never easier.
It is the only way you can see exactly what you look like and sound like. More importantly it can help decide where you need to make changes.
You can also just use audio recording. Record just your voice and you will quickly know if you’ve fallen into the Monotony Trap!
When it comes to avoid the cardinal errors that add up to a boring business presentation, remember that language has music.
It has texture, colour, contrast, light and shade to it. The sounds we make and how we make them is the starting point of communication.
So be bold, be courageous, and be inventive with how you create speech and sound.
You are a storyteller and the best storytellers are people who speak to you, engage you, and keep your attention.
By putting into practice just these few simple voice coaching techniques you can avoid the monotony trap. You can become a memorable, captivating and engaging speaker.
One who will keep your audiences awake and wanting more!
ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.
We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives.
Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.
Telephone:- +353 1 9696056
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ConfidentSpeak is a specialist S.T.E.M Communications & Coaching Consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives at home and abroad. Contact us for details on our range of corporate/private programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.