You will gain tremendous credibility, become much more believable, facilitate your audience understanding and engagement if you look one audience member in the eyes and provide a clear, concise and compelling message. Instead of leaving audience members shaking their heads and saying to their neighbor “I don’t have any idea what he just said.” “Experts” who use jargon and acronomes to communicate bold ideas generally leave audience members in the dark, disinterested and bored.
Malcolm Gladwell touches on this phenomenon in his book, Blink. He talks about “thin-slicing,” or “the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience.” He explains how too much or too complicated slides can cloud an individual’s ability to accurately analyze a situation, and how an excellent communicator needs to be concise and clear in presenting their message or suffer the I don’t care what you are saying reaction. In other words, mini-impressions do count. And although you never get a second chance to make a first impression, you do get a chance to make your next presentation understandable and clear to your audience. It will help you build your credibility and connection with the audience.
Three Other Strategies for “winning from within”:
Capture your audience’s attention. Think about one of your favorite presenters? What style or techniques did they use draw you in — humor, tangibles, relevance, emotions, surprise, or something else? Think about how you could incorporate strategies and techniques into your next important presentation.
Convey a clear and compelling message. Consider the key message for your audience. What do you want to try and convey to engage and connect with them, and how are you going to use your connection with audience members to generate curiosity and aqttention? How are you going to frame the message to make your point sticky and meet the audience needs? Now, think about your own messaging — what is the most critical takeaway you would like the audience to understand and receive? How might you deliver your message to ensure your audience walks away with this understanding and commitment to take action?
Focus on differentiation. Think about what distinguishes the best communicators from the rest. How does the speaker use his presentation to connect with people in a unique way? What sets you apart from other speakers? How can you stick and highlight your distinctive message?
When you combine these three elements, you’ve got the potential for a persuasive “hotspot.” The key is having these components ready so that you can recall them under the pressure of giving a speech or presentation. To access these elements on the spot will require mental toughness and calmness. For example, the best presenters are always prepared to connect with the audience by thinking quickly on their feet and changing their address to fit the needs of the moment. Similarly, the best leaders often are not those who provide the most data, or speak the loudest or longest but are those who speak in a memorable and inspiring way over and over again.
Our world is filled with noise, information, distractions and rules; so having someone’s undivided attention — even for 60 seconds — is an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted. If you can use those 60 seconds to capture their attention, deliver your message, and distinguish yourself from others, you’re likely to be heard, understood, and remembered. What presenter wouldn’t want that? Remember: never let the rules over-rule your common sense and intuition as a communicator.