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Presentation skills: Hints and Tips

Video transcript below

Anna Temple:  HR professionals increasingly find themselves having to present at events or speak to Boards and this can be very challenging.  So what are some handy tips?  Communications skills coach Dr. Gary Wohlman says that public speaking is all about maintaining a relationship with the audience and keeping yourself on track even when you sometimes lose the plot.
Dr. Gary Wohlman, Communication Skills Coach
Dr. Gary Wohlman:  What to do when you lose the plot, when you forget what to say.  It’s very embarrassing to say, “I forgot what to say.  I can’t find my notes, I lost the track of what to tell you”.   No one wants to look like that on stage.  However, if I shift that to, “where are we going to go from here.  Ah what I have been telling you is what I am telling you is, what I am going to be telling you is”, that simple structure for any excellent speaker works beautifully.
When you are communicating with a large audience, look at one person in the eye who is giving you positive regard.  If you don’t know who else is looking at you, just sweep the audience with your eyes and attention like you are an orchestra conductor with your hands, your eyes and your body and you will see different groups of people seeing the room like a pie that you can slice into different elements, 2 or 3 slices and therefore when I make a key point in one area and finish and then make another key point in another area, I am always having my eyes on someone who is making contact with me.
Anna Temple:  MCM professional speaker Michael Neaylon of MCME believes just as important is content or delivery is finding your personal style.
Michael Neaylon, MCME
Michael Neaylon:  A lot of programs look at content or delivery or content and delivery. What we like to focus on as well as those areas because they are both very important, is also your personal style.  Let’s say you are really comfortable giving speeches for an engagement party or for your parents anniversary or a 21st.  You can bring more of that person that you are when you are in those environments to a meeting environment or a presentation environment, the words might be formal and you know as I said the script might be formal, but the person behind it that’s delivering that is usually warmer, friendlier, easier to listen to and often if the ideas are a really big one or a complex strategy that you need to get across, the more relaxed you are and the more you you are, the more we hear it, so it actually works for you across the board.
Anna Temple:  Finally Neaylon and Wohlman both believe it is paramount to name and address any negativity or big questions in the room yourself in order to appear confident and not be caught out.
Michael Neaylon:  So if you’ve got a room where you are 20 years younger than everyone else in the room and it’s a great thing to do which is to, what we call “Name the Elephant in the room”, which is to frame that and say, “I understand that I am 20 years younger or thereabouts to other people in this room.  Where I do have something that’s unique that I can bring to the table is xy and z and even though I might not have the 20 years experience that you have and I extremely respect that, I do have this expertise that I can bring”.
Dr. Gary Wohlman:  Whether they are a CEO or Managing Director , someone who is in charge of the human resources professional of a certain department doesn’t matter, as long as they are able at this stage to be able to say, “one of the most difficult questions that I am often asked is” and then they answer it on stage before someone uses their firing to attack them.  So it takes away the attack by being able to preview the questions that one would otherwise be afraid to be asked.  It also gives them a greater command of speaking.
Anna Temple:  This is Anna Temple reporting for HC Online.