28 May 2020
I remember my very first conference.
I was horrified by an idea to talk in front of 100+ people.
Beforehand, I thought that coming up with an exciting topic for a conference is the hardest part. I was wrong.
I’m sure you know that feeling when you are kind of confident about the content of your speech, but as soon as day X comes closer, the heart starts beating a bit faster, palms are getting wet. You can physically feel how your spirit is leaking out. That was exactly what happened to me. I wouldn’t say I liked that feeling, so I began to search for ways to pull myself together, as Baron Munchausen pulled himself by the hair from the swamp.
Over time, I won more confidence and now I actually enjoy it. This transformation was possible because I learned that good self-presentation is the key.
The article you are going to read is the quintessence of years of practice, revisions, and testing different techniques on myself.
You must remember Coco Chanel saying
“You will not have a second chance to make a first impression.”
The success of communication largely depends on your self-presentation: the audience decides whether they’re into you in the first 30 seconds. Consider the beginning of any talk as a chance to express yourself, make your point, and convince your audience by a well prepared, confidently delivered, and valuable conversation. It’s easy to create an excellent self-presentation if you use this simple and, at the same time, effective guidelines, which consist of seven steps.
Let’s get started!
Start with “hello,” no matter how obvious it sounds 🙂 Welcoming the audience while interacting with them. It won’t hurt anybody, even if you’ve already met that day in the hall. A greeting is always a separate, complete phrase: “Hello!” or “Good afternoon!”
The intonation should be friendly, naturally rising and falling. After this, add a pause before presenting your name.
Pronounce your name and surname as one unit, without separating them, but pause before and after pronouncing. Thus, you emphasize your name, and it will be remembered by the interlocutor or the audience! It is essential to start with your first name, followed by your last name — and not vice versa.
Also, while introducing yourself, pronounce the name as clearly as possible, as a complete thought with a necessary intonation point.
What is the current profession so that the people clearly understand who you are and how to communicate with you.
Moving on, reveal four essential facts about you, which are indicators of your achievement, in numbers! Digitizing is extremely important: it will make it clear to the listeners how trustworthy you are to them as a communication partner. Also, it shouldn’t sound like sentences from your resume.
The digitized achievements will shape your positive image in their imagination, and it will be their conclusion and not your imposed opinion.
“… I’m a quality analyst consultant in the global technology company with 42 offices in 15 countries, ThoughtWorks.
My working experience in IT covers more than six years.
Having a degree in applied maths and informatics in Ukraine, I started my career in my home country.
Later on, at the age of 23, I got a Blue Card and moved to Germany.”
Next, proceed to the storytelling (in several sentences) about your current work, plans, and goals.
What self-development vectors you see, and what your career interest areas are right now. What you are dreaming about or what goals you are trying to achieve. It will help to visualize your words, emotionally delight the audience, and provoke immediate understanding and empathy.
Finish your self-presentation with a summary of your main message. It will stick with the audience if it’s framed as your personal/company motto.
For example: “Sense with your heart, convince by your word!” or “Free to make your mark”
In the end, it is crucial to thank and wrap up the speech with the intonation point: “Thank you for your attention! Until we meet again!”- use rising intonation and then falling. This technique will make the audience understand that you have finished your speech.
Take your time to learn how to do self-presentation and train it until it turns into a natural skill. Practice makes perfect!
Now It’s time to talk about the seven sins of the speaker. If you prevent these pitfalls from your public speech, you will make your speech reasonable and convincing. People will recognize you as a confident and experienced speaker.
Let’s consider these sins in detail.
Be mindful of your appearance in front of the audience, your body language during the performance, and the finale. If your body language is full of uncertain posture or clips or you are leaving the stage chaotically – you can spoil the impression of your talk, no matter how awesome the content was.
Remember that spectators will remember only the beginning and end of your performance. So pay particular attention to entering the stage: your appearance should radiate confidence, whereas leaving the scene should rather be quick and bold.
Your body language and appearance will tell your communication partners more than your words! Also, your intonation and pitch will be far ahead of the importance than the content of your talk.
Remember the 7-38-55 rule:
55 % of human communication is related to nonverbal sources, such as body language and facial expressions;
38 % is related to intonation, tone of your voice;
only 7 % is related to what you say exactly.
Topic – what is your talk about?
Idea – why are you talking about this topic here, what for?
It is extremely important to identify the topic and the idea in a nutshell, clearly, and accurately. Very often, speakers know the topic and, at the same time, do not focus on the idea. Without this focus, their speech is like a ship without a compass and navigation. Therefore, when preparing a speech, always determine the purpose — the idea that will become the engine of your public speech.
You must feel and see each word you are telling. It is a prerequisite for all performances. Many failed performances have a similarity – lack of visualization.
Visions, like bright pictures, in the speaker’s mind, should be ahead of the word for a second.
Only by transmitting visions, we can inspire our audience with our visualization, our ideas, or decisions.
This will be a decisive factor in the success of you as a speaker!
This will be perceived as a gift to convince!
In the language of business: convinced meant sold.
Excuses at the beginning like “I’m sorry I’m not very prepared …”, “My topic is probably not very interesting …”, as well as non-verbal body language will destroy the first impression. The audience will not forgive you anything, especially weakness. All apologies can only worsen the situation. Instead of apologies and excuses, turn the audience’s attention to more important issues and go directly to the presented topic.
Fear of forgetting the text or getting lost, lack of tips, thesis instill panic. There are many techniques to fight the fear of public speaking.
Did you know that the fear of public speaking takes second place after the fear of death in the ratings of psychologists around the world?
The mistake is that people try to fight the fear, while the necessary condition for overcoming the fear is its acceptance. Only two presets helped many speakers to escape from unnecessary anxiety:
Note: “did” — in the past tense, this has already happened, which means there is nothing to fear. At the same time, a healthy excitement is a necessary condition for an effective speech.
Frequent “gaps” in eye contact are due to long construction of the phrase (eyes on the floor, ceiling, to the side), or restructuring from one part of the text to another (eye retraction). People get the most information from eye contact. Your audience management depends on direct eye contact. Try to convince yourself that not the speaker matters for the audience, but the audience matters for the speaker! Having that in mind, every second of your speech, you will completely and visually communicate with your audience, acting through the word, and achieving the result.
The lack of drive, courage, and vivid expressiveness of the speaker (VOICE, GESTURES, LOOK) are all characteristics of weak energy.
Your energy should be higher than the energy of the public.
If your energy is lower or the same as the audience’s, do not start the performance. Only being energetically capacious, active, you can speak and win!