Knowing your ideas have value. Easy. Convincing others that your ideas are valuable. Well, that’s the hard part. Being a successful entrepreneur or small business owner is all about finding ways to constantly bridge this perceptual divide. While being “successful” often requires different traits for different people, those who can add value to ideas always have one trait in common. They’re all superb communicators.
Unfortunately, as a communication coach, I often encounter smart, vision-driven people who see their ideas stall because of their presentation skills. One of the most common reasons for this problem may surprise you. Many of the people I coach struggle to become better presenters simply because they refuse to believe they can become better communicators. It’s the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy. A poor mindset will always create a poor presentation.
Luckily, becoming an expert presenter is easier than you think. It just requires a bit of vision and reimagining skills you already have. Therefore, here are three presentation hacks that will allow you to create a powerful presentation mindset.
Go Ahead, Tell Me A Story
Think about it, behind every one of your great ideas is a great story. These stories are what led you to this idea from the start. But how often do we bog down and forget these stories because of our insatiable need to fill presentations with data? When is the last time you heard a stat worth telling your friends at a happy hour? In this data-driven world, it’s so easy to forget that we are narrative-driven creatures. There are good reasons why we can’t remember what we ate for breakfast but can remember a story for decades.
Great presentations happen when we accept that stories can be more powerful than data. Write a list of all the stories which led to your idea. When preparing your next presentation, swap out a few of your data slides and replace them with these stories. Your audiences will find you more memorable and you’ll have a lot more fun presenting the same ideas. Remember, nothing is more contagious than enthusiasm.
Don’t Be Afraid To Breath
Confident speakers are the masters of being suave. They seem to know exactly what to say at exactly the right moment. Unfortunately, far too often our speaking rate makes us seem anything but confident and controlled. Speaking quickly turns a set of ideas into a gobbled mess that is impossible for your audience to break apart.
Fix this problem and regain control by setting an internal rhythm for yourself before you start speaking. Before you start, look at your watch or a clock and say to yourself “I will speak extremely slowly” at a rate of one syllable per second. Say this sentence several times in a row. By doing this, your body will naturally feel this slow internal beat when you start. The result is a slower and more confident delivery style from the start. Suddenly, you will not only seem more in control but also be able to have the extra time needed to find just the right words to say.
Embrace Your Uniqueness
Entrepreneurs value uniqueness over conformity.
Your idea is a unique expression of you and your desire to make a mark on the world. If you’re ideas are unique, why shouldn’t your communication style be equally distinctive?
Just like your clothes are an expression of your personal style, your communication style should reflect those same traits. Take some time before your presentation to think about the components that make you and your ideas stand out. What makes those things new and different? How do they improve the life of those around them? Once you have identified those elements, think of ways to infuse those same concepts into your presentation and delivery. Does your communication style “communicate” the same kind of innovativeness as the ideas you are presenting? The better you can answer this question, the more zen-like connection you will create between your presentation, your ideas, and your unique view of the world.
There is no magic formula for a great presentation. However, hacks like these can help you transform the mundane into the memorable.