Presentation Skills

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Expert voice coach Carol Noakes offers her top five tips for powerful presenting. From body language to prompts, Carol highlights how we can improve our delivery to be successful presenters in our professional lives.

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Carol Noakes on powerful presenting

In the course of political elections, it is crucial for candidates from all parties to be credible on stage. They are probably coached, but with varying levels of success. Post-debate, their performances have been analysed on delivery style and content, and it is increasingly apparent that it is important to be aware of what works for you and to apply some fundamental principles that enhance your chance of success. For those of us who might not be running for this election, but who still need to be credible presenters in our professional lives, here is a starter pack of five of those principles.

Top tips for presenting:

  1. Make your audience want to listen from the very beginning. Start with something relevant to them that will capture their interest and intrigue them: they need to know their time with you will have a benefit to them. The proposition that you set up in the introduction should be clearly justified in the conclusion.
  2. Your body language should signal confidence and relaxation from the moment your audience sees you, so be physically open and check for signs of tension. Stand tall, drop your shoulders and practice standing evenly on both feet when you are still.
  3. Include everyone with your eye contact as much as you can. The idea is to feel as if you are having a conversation with each person in the room, so look and sound warm and inclusive.
  4. Make sure your voice is warmed up and ready to bring your messages to life with variety of pace, pitch, emphasis and intonation. No matter how interesting your content is, if you deliver it in a monotone, the audience will find it hard to stay with you or to remember anything you said. Signal the key phrases with added vocal colour and think about what you want them to feel at each stage.  
  5. Use prompts as little as you can manage: you should feel secure that you have enough to keep you on track, but not rely on a full script. The aim is to sound structured but flexible and fresh.

Above all, prepare well and rehearse beforehand, and when you are actually in front of your audience, be authentic and congruent. You can enhance an ordinary argument with great delivery and ruin a great argument with poor delivery, so make sure you aim to combine great content with great delivery. Listen to feedback, practice, and treat each presentation as an opportunity to create new relationships. Good luck and have a great time.

Want to share these tips with your students? Download Carol's top tips on presentation skills in our handy list!

Download list of top tips (PDF)

Carol Noakes

Carol Noakes is the Director of Voice Ltd, a company that delivers unique experiential training that transforms individual  performance and drives businesses forward. 

Carol specialises in public speaking, presentations and positive influencing through connecting with your audience and creating rapport. She coaches groups and individuals to increase their personal impact at work. 

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