The 3 Secrets to Delivering a Great Presentation

by Janice Tomich

What’s the difference between a good and great presentation?
Here are three secrets that will make the difference between your next presentation being ‘good enough’ or you taking the leap and delivering a speech that is great.
Let’s deconstruct one of my favorite TED talks, Half a Million Secrets by Frank Warren to show you how. 


#1 Use Pauses 
Silence and pauses can speak louder than words. In Frank’s talk, he pauses in between each of the secrets he shares with us. These pauses help us see and hear the deep connection and respect he has for each person who has sent him a secret on a postcard. For the audience, it gives them time to take in Frank’s messages. Using pauses also has another benefit. It will give you time to take a breath and calm any jangly nerves (here’s my HuffPost article for more anxiety busting tips).


#2 Vary Your Voice
Sometimes the way you speak can lull your audience to sleep if you get stuck in your default vocal rhythm. Your usual vocal pattern can begin to sound dull or monotone when it used the same way during your entire presentation.

Your voice has the gift of immense power to deliver messages, inspire change, and engage an audience. The tone of your voice can help tell whether you want to be serious, funny, formal, or casual. If you speak with a low voice, it can convey a more serious message. A higher tone can convey enthusiasm. If you choose to speak slower you can drive home your points.
As Frank speaks, he varies his voice in between the secrets he shares. His voice allows the audience to recognize the humor in some of the secrets and how they can take many forms. At the end of his talk, he shares a recording from a grandmother sending birthday wishes. He ends it with “thank you”, his voice truly respectful and humble, which fills you with the feeling of the importance of family connection and legacy.

 #3 Learn Your Presentation (Don’t Memorize It) 
It may be tempting to memorize your speech word for word because you want to get it ‘just right’. But when the time comes to deliver it, and nerves hit, you may find yourself struggling to remember a word or point you want to make. I have my clients learn the key points of the presentation and expand on them to stop the deer-in-headlights-I-can’t-remember-the-next-line problem in its tracks.

In sharing stories like Frank did, he remembers the people he wants to talk about. Matty, for example, was inspired by one of Frank’s secrets to start his own website, IFoundYourCamera. Frank riffs about the lovely story of Matty’s kindness – how he helps reunite them with their precious pictures/cameras.

There you have it. Three ways to make your next presentation great: Take your time and let your audience drink in your words while using the full range of your voice. And remember you don’t want to sound like an over-practiced drone. Be bold and have the courage to riff a little.

If you want to learn how to put these ‘secret’s’ into practice and learn many more ask me about delivering a workshop to your organization. 

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