If “content is king”—and it usually is—then perhaps delivery skills are the King’s Hand.
We’d all love to believe that people focus on what you say, not how you say it. Both are critical, and we teach “your message is the most important thing” in our presentation seminars.. Yet, have you ever listened to a genius speak but become so distracted by their mannerisms that you couldn’t focus on the message?
Several years ago, while taking my daughter and several teammates to soccer practice, one of her friends said “like” 109 times in 20 minutes. I remember asking my daughter, “Would you like me to mention it to your friend, or will you?”
There’s a saying that we don’t trust people who won’t look us in the eye. How well do we listen to what they say?
I’ve seen people get red from the neck up, sweat through their clothing or run out of a room crying from the pressure of presenting. I was coaching a client for a presentation he was about to deliver to the chairman of the board of a large corporation. He sat across the desk from me and was brilliant! I had him stand up and he couldn’t complete a full sentence without losing his thoughts.
If you think the message here is master physical delivery skills when you present, you’re only half right.
You can win the moment and lose everything else if your delivery is good, but your content doesn’t resonate with the people you’re presenting to. We’ll address content elsewhere. I rank the development of one’s content as #1 on the list of what’s needed to succeed when presenting. Delivery of that content is #1A on the list.
What people fear the most when they have to present, is that they will look bad. They fear that their nervousness will “undo” all of the preparation they’ve put into the event. We have a saying about nervousness: you use it or it will use you. For that reason, be conscious of the delivery skills that follow.
Note: Think of the following information as guidance and not “rules.” There are hundreds of ways to be effective as a presenter, and no hard and fast rules. Any distraction you present in moderation is not going to take your audience away from your message.
We divide the delivery skills into two groupings: Those things that we see—the Visual set, and those things that we hear—the Audible set. The Visual set includes: Movement, Stance, Hands/Gestures, and Eye Contact. The Audible set includes: Volume, Speaking Pace, Animation, and Non-Words.
We have a saying about nervousness: you use it or it will use you.
In our presentation skills training seminars we arm participants with tips, tricks and knowledge about how to develop and use all the delivery skills. We also do videotaped, critiqued practice sessions with real life material which really helps participants start building and refining skills right away. Learn more...
Next, I’ll highlight a few key points about each of the Visual Delivery Skills—starting with Movement.
In the meantime, here’s a short video in which I briefly highlight each of the key Visual Delivery Skills: