We are Alexis Blevins and Katya Kantar, the new summer interns at Accent On Business. As interns we were very excited to sit in on our first client session. We observed a small business entrepreneur who is developing a 45-minute keynote speech for marketing an innovative, new product. The session included an overview of basic presentation skills and how to deliver the content of the speech in a more significant and memorable manner. It began with Ellen Dunnigan, President and CEO, inspiring the client to think and question how she wanted her audience to perceive her and what the main goals of the speech are for both the speaker and the audience. We recognized that the client truly believed in the content she was presenting to us. She wanted to be perceived as relaxed and insightful while giving her speech, but she had no way of explaining what it meant to display those qualities during a presentation. Ellen began to ask questions like, “What does “relaxed” and “insightful” look like to you and your audience?” “What does a relaxed and insightful speaker sound like?” and “What movements would a relaxed, insightful person choose to make?” Ellen utilized the entrepreneur’s extensive knowledge in her field by teaching her proven techniques that allow her personality to shine through.
Here are some techniques that you should utilize as well:
- Research has proven that smiling is a top indicator of your belief in what you’re saying. Smiling makes you more approachable and likeable in fun presentations, as well as in serious and important topics.
- Gestures should be easy flowing. Gestures that are too close to our body often convey nervousness, especially in group presentations.
- Eye contact is the easiest way to connect with your audience. Raising your eyebrows shows your passion on the topic and using eye contact shows engagement and attentiveness.
We saw the client’s face light up when she was presented with these thought-provoking questions and techniques. They offered her a fresh perspective on how nonverbal communication is just as important, if not more important, than the content in a speech. Before your next presentation, remember to consider how you would like your audience to perceive you and what you can do to successfully BE that person.