Present spontaneously through practice

Have you ever attended a presentation and been awed by how easily the keynote speaker engages you and how comfortable she seems? She speaks without looking at notes or her slides. It’s as if she’s having a conversation with just you and everything she says is off the top of her head. Do you wish you could be that spontaneous?

Would you be surprised to find out that those presenters are not spontaneously presenting? They practice and prepare more than the average presenter. That is why they moved from average to exceptional.

You can present with impact and confidence by using this four step approach.

Step 1: Write your script. You don’t need to write it out word for word, a little spontaneity is good. However, you do need to know your key points, the order in which you want to present these points, and what supporting examples you’ll use.

The benefit of writing this script will help you to determine what should be included and what should not. It helps you to identify the right combination of words in the right sequence that will have the impact you need to meet your objective.

Step 2: Memorize your script. This takes practice. I know you don’t have a lot of extra time on your hands. Making this task bite sized will help you fit it into an already overbooked schedule. Break your presentation into 5 – 10 minute segments. Take one segment at a time. Say it out loud as you drive to work or in between other tasks. Make note of how comfortable the words feel as you say them out loud. Repeat until you you know the entire script.

Step 3: Have a conversation. Write it as if you were speaking to a friend. We write differently for reading than for speaking, so make sure you continue to practice by speaking your script out loud. Consider replacing group references with individual ones. For example instead of saying ‘everyone here is faced with….’ try ‘you are faced with….’

Step 4: Add emotion. To make your presentation more conversational and to appear to be more comfortable, it is important that your audience experience your story on an emotional level. We need to connect with you and your story. Often business presentations are impersonal, dry, and emotionless. Adding emotion brings empathy to the presentation for both your audience and you. It helps you to connect to each person individually. As if you were having a conversation with only them. Acknowledge the frustration, the excitement, the satisfaction at solving the problem you are presenting.

Bring your presentations to the next level by taking time to prepare. Practice and prepare and make the presentation a conversation. If you do, soon your audience will ask you ‘You seem so at ease. How do you do it?”