1. Be different
Work out how you can stand out from all the other speakers. For example, Steve Jobs stood out as a presenter because of his appearance, because he stepped out from behind the lectern, because he rarely if ever used notes, because his power point slides mostly contained images instead of text and because he ignited the imagination of his listeners. Work out how you can be different.
2. Tell stories
People are wired for stories. Stories allow listeners to create pictures in their mind which help them to understand the speaker’s message. A presenter’s story allows the listener to recall their own version of that story which makes it easier to relate to the message. Stories are easier to remember. A good story is easier to recall a day, a week, even a year after it was heard.
3. Use humour
At a conference, the speaker who can make their audience laugh will be long remembered. Listeners want useful information but they need to be entertained. Humour breaks down barriers between a presenter and their audience. Humour allows an audience to relax – and relaxed audiences learn. An audience that laughs is more likely to remember your message and buy into it.
4. One message
Whether you are speaking for five minutes or forty five minutes, give your listeners one message. Make three to five points that support that message but give them one message only. Before you start creating your presentation ask yourself the following question “What is my objective?” The answer will be the message you want to get across.
5. Use concrete images
The best way to explain abstract ideas or technical information is with metaphors or similes. Comparing difficult to understand subjects to visually strong or familiar images will make them easier to comprehend. If you want your message to be remembered, explain it in terms your listener is already familiar with.
6. Connect emotionally
It has been said that 80 per cent of the decisions we make are based upon emotion. We are all connected by six emotions; happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise and disgust. If you want to connect with your audience, connect with one or more of these emotions.
7. Focus on your audience
Create a presentation that focuses on the benefits to your listener and NOT the features of the product. Your audience is thinking “what’s in this for me?” Answer that question in terms of benefits to your audience and they will be focused on your message.
It takes work to stand out from the crowd but the rewards can be great. Using these seven ideas will allow your audience to catch all of your key points, including the message you want them to come away with.
Eric Fitzpatrick is from Toastmasters International