“Storytelling offers the opportunity to talk with your audience, not at them.” – Laura Holloway
We’ve all been hit by that moment right before a presentation where we start second-guessing ourselves. Are we as prepared as we think we are? Will we choose the right words? And the hardest one of all–how do other people make it look so easy?
The most accredited public speakers have all been stumped by these questions at one time or another. Even business storytelling expert David JP Phillips. In our 28th podcast episode, Prezent Like the Pros, David shared that it doesn’t matter whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. Public speaking is a skill, not a talent, and anyone can achieve that “WOW” factor in their next pitch presentation with enough practice.
Here are his top public speaking hacks to help you master your next PowerPoint presentation.
YOU ARE THE FOCUS
You’d be surprised how many people believe their PowerPoint is the focal point of their presentation. David argues that this is a huge mistake many people across all skill levels make. A presentation is a combination of different communication tools, never just a PowerPoint. When you’re on stage, you are the presentation. The PowerPoint slides should only be a visual aid whose purpose is to clarify and emphasize your words.
Imagine every slide as a story that’s built out in the following structure:
- Prep → Builds up the anticipation
- Background → Describes why this slide is here and what problem it addresses
- Development → Outlines how to solve this unique problem
- Conclusion → Summarizes the previous slides concisely
This structure will help frame your PowerPoint as supplemental information next to the core messaging you’re providing as your presentation’s primary focal point.
PRACTICE EVERY TIME YOU SPEAK
Public speaking isn’t just something you do on stage or in important meetings. It happens every time you speak. Whether you’re talking with your family or thanking your barista for your morning coffee, every daily interaction is an opportunity to train your public speaking skills. It exists in your smile, your nod, your emphasis, your tonality. It happens all around you all the time.
Framing your life in this way can help make public speaking second nature. It will inspire you to remove filler words and sounds from your everyday life and practice your public speaking prowess. That way when you are in front of a large or small group, you don’t need to pretend to be somebody else outside of yourself just to present because it’s already a natural extension of who you are.
Spice up your communication skills by building these tips into your next business presentation. You can also listen to the full David JP Phillips episode here.