You speak before a group. You present your message. You might be selling your product, service or yourself. How do you present yourself with power?
Avoid the temptations
PowerPoint. Don’t be fooled by the name. There is no implied power in PowerPoint. PowerPoint does not convey power. Have you noticed how many business presenters use PowerPoint in their presentation yet do not have presentation power? That should be your first clue. If everyone is doing it – it is not powerful. Did you notice how quickly the Macarena faded once vice president Al Gore did it?
PowerPoint is easy-to-use software. It seduces you into believing that your presentation is all about speaking to words and images on a screen. That is your second mistake. If it appears to be too easy – it is not powerful.
The third deception is that a bad presenter can hide behind their PowerPoint presentation. If you think that, shame on you! If you were a bad golfer do you really believe that expensive clubs or a Nike cap (like Tiger Woods wears) would make you a great golfer? If you could not ice skate would you offer to play in the Stanley cup just because you got new skates? Of course not. Don’t make that mistake with presentation skills. Don't relay on PowerPoint. Hone the fundamental skills.
Power comes from within you
The only power that counts in your presentation and everything you do is the power that comes from within you. That is real power. That is recognizable power. That is power that enables you to make things happen.
This is real power because no one can take it away from you. They can admire it and covet it but they cannot take it away from you. That is what makes you powerful.
How do you convey power to your audience?
The first way you convey power is in the confidence you project. Stand and look good even if you don’t feel good. Projecting power is based on how you look, sound and feel. For the past decade of presentation skills training and speech coaching, George Torok, the “Speech Coach for Executives” has discovered that most people look more confident than they feel. This is surprising to most presenters. And it is a welcome relief. No one knows how your inner voice is berating you. On the other hand everyone can see how boring your PowerPoint slides are.
Even when you don’t feel so good – always look good. This works in your favor. Even when you question your own confidence the audience does not know about your inner doubts. They only know what they see and feel.
The physical is the first and strongest way you project power. Smile. That is the look of confidence. Smile. That helps to build trust. Smile. That shows that you know your stuff. Too many business presenters make the mistake of thinking, “This is serious business. I must not smile.” What a mistake. Any business you are in is about people. And people like to deal with people who convey confidence and trust. Nothing conveys trust and confidence more than a smile. Don’t grin like the Cheshire cat – but smile with confidence.
Another physical projection of power is the way you stand. Stand away from the lectern so the audience can see you. When you appear more open you appear more believable.
Stand tall and strong. Shoulders back and chest out. Looking as tall and big as you can. We put more faith in one who appears to be big: Bigger, stronger, more confident.
Stand with your hands and arms open most of the time. Crossed arms appear guarded not powerful. You appear to be hiding something. Keep your hands out of your pockets. If you want to appear open, look open.
Your voice is the next component to power and believably. Power comes from the appearance of confidence. You sound more powerful when you sound more confident. You sound more confident when you speak slower and deeper – and say less. Speaking slower shows that you are willing to let listeners digest what you say; that you are not afraid of interruptions. Speaking slower also lowers the tone of your voice – which makes you sound more credible. Who sounds more powerful – the slow thudding walk of the elephant or the skittering of the mouse?
Pause more. That displays confidence. It allows your listeners to think about what you say. It is never about what you tell them. It is about what they convince themselves. And they convince themselves while you are not talking. You do not convince with your words. They need the silences to think.
Hum the first four notes to Beethoven’s Fifth symphony. Feel the power in those clear simple four notes. Compare that to the skittering of rap music. Have you noticed that the only power in today’s music is from the slow deep thud of the base?
Use words of power
Pick words that convey power. Short simple clear words display more power than longer words. Love, hate, grow, kill, stop, go, are more powerful than infatuation, ill feelings, cultivation, exterminate, discontinue, departure.
Simple phrases and short sentences have more power than long, vague convoluted meanderings. Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” has more power than “Our mission is to be the supplier of choice to our customers, show respect for our employees, work fairly with our suppliers, be recognized as a leader in the marketplace and generate a consistently above average return on investment to our shareholders.”
Compare that to, “We are here to win.”
Verbs are more powerful than nouns and more powerful than adjectives and adverbs.
Action is power. Talk versus communication. Do versus implementation. Sell versus solicitation. Those words ending in ‘tion’ are poison. They suck the power out of your message.
You are the power
You can be more powerful when you speak – if you focus on what you say and how you look and sound. Power is a feeling. If your audience believes you to be powerful by how you make them feel – you will be powerful.
Don’t hide behind PowerPoint slides. Don't hope that PowerPoint will save your presentation or grant you false power. Your personal power will move your audience to buy into your message. The power will never come from your PowerPoint presentation. Instead tap into the personal power that you have inside of you. That is what makes you believable and compelling.
© George Torok delivers powerful presentations. He can train you to convey your message with power. When you speak with power – you will get more of everything. You can register to get your free monthly tips on Power Presentations by registering at www.Torok.com. You can find more tips and learn about he can help you at www.SpeechCoachforExecutives.com.
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