by Emma Bannister
When presenting, it's common to be told that we speak too high, we need to speak louder, or we were too fast. But in fact, it's not just about pitch, volume or pace.
The thing is, these are all symptoms of a bigger picture. Simply changing your pitch, volume or pace without looking at the root cause is like putting new tyres or a rear spoiler on an old car and expecting it to compete in the Grand Prix. These alterations will never make a big impact on the whole car and they'll look out of place.
Similarly, when you focus on the externalities of your presentations and try to slow down your speech, modulate your pitch or speak with a deeper voice, you feel awkward and your presentation isn't significantly improved. In fact the more you try to change these things, the less authentic and more uncomfortable you become.
There is no one–size-fits-all when it comes to presentations. There is no perfect speed, pitch or pace. Our presentations are as unique as we are, which is why we have to look beyond the traditional fixes.
The most memorable (in a good sense!) presentations are the ones that are most authentic. This doesn't mean that the speaker is calm or feeling relaxed – in fact this can work against us. When we deliver an authentic presentation, 'who we are' shines through. We connect with our audience. We inspire and engage them and we make a difference.
Here are a few ideas on how to make your presentation the best it can be:
• Step away from the computer and brainstorm your ideas and goals.
• Grab a marker pen, some paper and storyboard your presentation.
• Plot a flow and take your audience on a journey.
• Clean strong visuals that support what you are saying.
• No clutter – one message per slide.
• No clipart or nauseating animations.
• Create places on stage as anchors for different parts of your presentation.
• Learn a new neutral position (rest position) to use on stage.
• Don't take a deep breath in to relax — give a breath out!
Run your own business? Join the FREE Flying Solo community for support, exposure & how-to guides. Visit www.flyingsolo.com.au.