The Number One Secret for
Giving a Great Presentation
By Sheri Jeavons
ever given a presentation and afterwards not remembered what you’ve
said? You know you were
looking at the people in the audience, but somehow you felt you were
not connecting. You heard
yourself talking too fast and felt yourself fidgeting, but weren’t
sure how to correct this behavior.
reached the point where you are frustrated and anxious each time you
have to present. As a
result, you avoid giving presentations because you don’t know what
to do to relax. You seek
out advice and are told to slow down your speaking pace, breathe more,
use more gestures etc. These
intentions are good, but not very helpful when trying to improve your
skills. Too many
suggestions without any “how-to” instructions can actually cause
solution is learning to implement one very important element of
communicating. Once you understand what this element is, and how to
properly incorporate it into your style, you will have a completely
different experience with your audience. While you
may feel you are
making eye contact with your audience, what’s really happening is
that you are quickly scanning the audience, not really connecting with
one secret for giving a great presentation is sustained
eye contact! It’s
not just looking at people, but focusing on one person for 3 to 5
seconds to truly connect. Sustained eye contact with the individuals
in the room is the number one skill any presenter needs in order to
connect with an audience. When done properly, you will look and sound
more dynamic as you communicate your message.
you are doing it right when you receive nonverbal cues of
acknowledgment such as audience members nodding their head or smiling.
When you learn the
techniques of sustained eye contact and can properly implement them,
you will feel better and look more confident in a matter of minutes.
Enhance your presentations in the blink of an eye. The following
techniques will increase your confidence every time you communicate!
1. Slowly connect with individuals: Look at an individual in the room
for the length of a complete thought. A complete thought means looking
at one person from the beginning of a sentence until there is
punctuation, a comma or a period. When you complete a sentence or key
thought, slowly move your eyes to another person and repeat the
process. Select the next person in close proximity to the first
person. This process will seem slow and sometimes even feel like you
are excluding others in the room.
2. Permission to ignore others: To properly implement sustained eye
contact you will need to get comfortable with focusing longer on
individuals, which means you will ignore others for a short period of
time. This is ok! The
audience will observe that you are really looking at people.
This will motivate your audience to pay closer attention,
realizing that soon you will connect with each one of them.
3. Pick pockets of people: For a large group, you’ll need to divide
the room into small “pockets” of people. Here is how you determine
a pocket. Before you speak, analyze the setup of the room. Stand
facing a section of the room and extend your arms straight out in
front of you. (You may need to do this in your mind.)
A pocket is all of the people who would fit into that space
between your arms, usually about 8 to 20 people. If you have a room
with round tables, each table becomes a pocket.
If you have a very deep room you may need to divide pockets in
the front of the room and in the back. Once you begin communicating,
avoid scanning the room by selecting a pocket of people for 3 to 4
sentences, then move on to a new pocket.
4. Respond to the group: As you’re connecting with your audience, you
may notice individuals who look confused or frustrated. You will want
to respond to this information. Stop
speaking and ask the group if they need further explanation, have
comments, or would like to ask questions. Then remain completely
silent for five seconds. This will strengthen your connection to the
people in the room by indicating that you’ve noticed their needs and
are willing to respond to them.
5. Get the timing down: Eye contact is not a perfect science. If you
were to time how long you should look at someone, it would vary
between 3 to 6 seconds. Some people like lots of eye contact and feel
very comfortable with people looking at them for sustained periods.
You will notice these people giving you positive nonverbal responses,
such as smiling, nodding, or raising a hand to ask a question.
You’ll naturally tend to give more attention to those who are very
nonverbally responsive. Others may feel uncomfortable with sustained
eye contact. They will express this discomfort nonverbally by looking
down or away. They may physically move back if they feel you are too
“close” or are staring at them. Don’t let this reaction throw
you off. If you are picking up on nonverbal signals of discomfort,
show respect by simply moving on to someone else.
use these simple techniques for sustained eye contact you will feel
more relaxed and look more confident! In turn, audiences of all sizes
will find you and your presentations more dynamic and will feel as if
you’re personally involved with them and responsive to their needs.
Read other articles and learn more
[This article is available at no-cost, on a non-exclusive basis.
Contact PR/PR at 407-299-6128 for details and