I love presentations that make an impact. You remember what has been shared. You have actionable takeaways. And, if you are lucky, you exit the Zoom meeting or conference feeling inspired. Those are the good ones.
The common framework that exists among these impactful presentations, is an engaging speaker. They are confident, well-prepared, but more importantly they are wise with their word usage and that's what we tackle today.
So, how do you become a more engaging speaker? It's starts with how you choose your words.
Most presenters today feel the pressure to use a vocabulary they typically don't use in everyday life. For instance, I'll see big words like:
"Notwithstanding our commitment..." VS "In spite of commitment..."
The prior is a lot more formal and creates an unnecessary barrier or hurdle between you and your audience. Always choose the easy word. You'll audience will appreciate it.
In the same spirit of keeping your content simple, you also need to aim for clarity with every word choice. I'll give you an example using a simple phrase. Let's say you want to talk about a dog walking across the street. You can either opt for:
Option 1: A dog walked across the street.
Option 2: A dachshund walked across the street.
The second option is almost the same but radically more clear. The reason why is because Option 1 is going to force your audience to invest more effort. One person might be thinking Golden Retriever while another person might be thinking Great Dane. You need to eliminate the extra work and brain energy by choosing to communicate what you intended - a dachshund walked across the street.
And finally, the best way to create more engagement for your audience is to simply make it about them. Below, we have the dreaded PowerPoint "Agenda" slide. This approach is entirely self-centered because it is about your agenda and your game plan for the presentation.
But, what if you made it about your audience and not about you?
Instead, you would get slides that resemble something like this:
This approach flips the script and makes the talk not about you, but about them. That's pure engagement.
Engaging presentations are the best ones. They are easy to follow because the presenter chose words you could understand. They leave you energized because you aren't emotionally tired from trying to piece things together. And, they are the most memorable because the presenter made it about you and that's a good thing.
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