It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.
- Lewis Carrol, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
When your presentation makes no sense to your audience, they’ll stop paying attention. Make sure your message makes sense to your listeners and they’ll be hanging from your every word.
Structure is everything
A well-structured speech is imperative in getting your message across. Make sure your audience know where you are in your story, how things interrelate and why. Otherwise they’ll just give up listening and zone out, leaving you talking to no one in particular.
Take time to breathe
Ever had to listen to someone just ramble on and on about something you didn’t really care about. At what time did you stop paying attention? After five minutes? Three minutes? One? So why would you expect the same from your audience? Taking breaks to breathe, leaving silences and letting your speech flow naturally are important aspect of any conversation, and are doubly important in public speaking.
Back to basics
The key to a great presentation or speech is limiting yourself to a very few key messages, preferably even one. This will ensure your audience can remember it and will know what your speech was actually about. Ask yourself the following question: “How would someone who was in my audience summarise my speech to someone who wasn’t there?” If it takes more than one sentence, you have too many messages, or they weren’t clear.