Sometimes, while being a speaker, a single question will get asked. One that disrupts your subconscious, while you search for the answer, and this was one of those moments.
After presenting one night, a gorgeous, gentle woman, went out of her way to share with me her observations about the room I had been addressing. Not having a clue what she was about to say, I listened intently.
“I have been to hundreds of networking events, seminars and presentations and there is always someone moving about, on their phone or whispering, but not this time. No one moved. You had the audience with you the whole way. How did you do that? “
I was a little taken aback. With a perplexed expression I answered, “I expect nothing less because I will only get what I expect and do not want people distracted, so I work hard to keep them with me.”
As she ripped out her note book to write down lesson number one, she then asked for lesson number two: “How do you do that?”
As an established performer, speaker and coach, I have worked on my craft for more than 30 years and have forgotten more that most have learnt about the art of presenting, vocal skills and stage craft techniques.
At some stage within any skill development, the individual develops what is known as unconscious competence. The skill becomes second nature and can be performed easily while executing other tasks. Depending on how the skill has been learnt and practiced, the individual may be able to teach this technique to others.
I am so grateful for this question because this literally disrupted my unconscious. It forced me to unravel the layers of training that encapsulate the micro techniques that help make that impact as a presenter.
While it is impossible to teach you the hundreds of possible micro movements in one article, I can give you an idea on where to start.
- Content: Get intimate with your content. The best presentations are usually delivered by someone who has spent YEARS in their field of expertise. In fact, it takes over 10,000 hours to be become an expert at a craft. Your audience want to see, feel and almost touch the wisdom you have within. If you need help putting your presentation together I can recommend a specialist to help bring your story together (Just PM me). I get the fun job, because once you have your content laid out, it’s my job to inject the final micro elements into your presentation.
- Practice: Start to practice your presentation by focusing on how you want your audience to feel after you leave the stage. In essence, it’s about the legacy you want your voice to leave in the room. Do you want them to be inspired with the goosebumps? Perhaps you want them to be motivated? Do you need to make that impact and influence your team to the next level? I call this, “setting the intention”. Once you have clarity on how you want your audience to feel, your voice will then follow your lead, naturally injecting the perfect micro inflections and nuances to align with your intention. Then it just needs focused practice to develop the muscle memory.
- Cadence: Everyone has a unique cadence that expresses their personality through speech patterns. The micro magic lies in developing what sounds natural for you. What’s your rhythm? How do you use variety to emphasis your short phrases, emotions and logic? Are you using variety in pitch, volume, syllable length and pauses between the phrases?
**Remember, emotion responds to the beginning and ends of sentences and hunts for clear articulation and upper partials within the sounds.
- Body Language: Now it’s time to check in with your face, eyes and body. A basketball pro will dribble the ball up the court, weaving in and out of defence, shifting their stride to counteract the obstruction all while balancing their physical position to land that ball in the hoop.
Similarly, a polished speaker will know exactly where they are heading with their content by making sure their articulators are in alignment with the word structure. Their breath will support the projected phrases as they increase their timing to land the statement with precisely the right inflection, facial expression, body position and eye movement.
That’s right, it does not just happen.
I believe a great speaker needs to learn and practice the necessary fundamental skills and techniques required to develop unconscious competence. It is then that the speaker can move beyond just ‘winging it’ to making the big impacts by shifting their audience to where they want them to be.
As a speaker, we chase those moments of deep connection with our audience. To retain their attention 100%, to see nodding heads, people taking notes and asking thought provoking questions.
As your Vocal/Presentation Coach it is my absolute passion to teach you those strategic techniques and the science behind the micro movements that create macro results.