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What does it take to be a great presenter or even just a decent one?

How do you present?  Are you a good speaker?  Does speaking in public, or in front of any sort of audience, leave you racked with nerves?  Do you suffer sleepless nights for weeks leading up to the event?  Do you sit there with your stomach churning and unable to catch your breath as you watch the person presenting before you – knowing it’s your turn next?  And when you get up there do you hold on to the lectern like the last life-preserver?  Knees literally knocking behind it?

Or perhaps you love presenting?  You feel elated every time you’re approached to speak.  You can’t wait to get out of that chair and up on a stage.  You get a buzz from looking out at the audience and seeing their rapt attention…  You thrive on questions and being able to interact with the people receiving your message.

Or like most people you’re probably somewhere in between those two extremes…

So today I thought I’d review 5 posts that can help you improve your skills as a presenter and as a speaker.  You may not aim for greatness, but a little improvement can go a long, long way.

It all started back on April 7, 2011 with my first post on this topic – The Not So Naked Truth About Being a Great Presenter  where I presented 3 key strategies.

Everybody loves a story – us them to grab the attention of your audience, leave them at a cliffhanger and keep them with you right to the very end.

Be prepared – just like a good Scout be prepared, know your stuff and have a plan.

And finally REMEMBER – fear serves no purpose.  As a friend used to say – the sun will come up tomorrow whatever happens.

Let’s move on to an excellent post from MICHAEL HYATTHow to be Better Prepared for Your Next Major Presentation.

Michael covers 7 top tips for the prep’aholics (as he calls himself) out there.  If you feel the need to prep ’til you drop to be confident when you walk up there, then this is the post for you.

But don’t forget you may not go from good to great as a presenter if you turn your audience off by being too slick and seemingly over prepared.  A great presenter is like a woman with makeup – it’s important to add enough, but to still look natural!

Now how many people have you seen stand up there and just read their presentation?  They spend more time staring at the page and rarely, if ever, look up at their audience.  And said audience are no longer there – instead they’re amusing themselves reading emails on their Blackberries, checking out the weather or wondering what will be for lunch.

SETH GODIN says it perfectly in his post Your voice will give you away.  It’s extremely difficult to read a speech and sound as if you mean it.  When you read, you look down, your posture changes, your throat tightens …. Reading is different from speaking and presenting, and a different sort of attention is paid by the audience.

As Seth concludes if you can’t speak or present without reading from your notes then you may as well just send your audience a memo – save yourself (and your audience) the time and stress!

So that’s the words, but what about your body language?  I’ve covered things your body may be saying without you even knowing previously with the Satir Categories.  But well worth a read is a post from NICK MORGAN on what actually happens when your words and body language don’t match…

And finally back to MICHAEL HYATT and a guest post by Brian Owen -  What an Acting Coach Taught Me About Public Speaking.  Brian is a coach and expert in the Meisner technique of acting.

He suggests.  Be nervous. Make eye contact. Take detours. Use the Power of a Pause. Messing up isn’t a bad thing.

What top tips or stories can you share about public speaking and presentations?

Don’t forget to go and take my 2 minute survey on collaboration just click here.  Everyone’s point of view is valued and appreciated.

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© Jacqui Gatehouse and GATEHOUSE THIRTEEN, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jacqui Gatehouse and GATEHOUSE THIRTEEN with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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One response to “What does it take to be a great presenter or even just a decent one?

  1. Pingback: 10 ways to improve your public speaking — Ian's Messy Desk

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