When we set out to give a presentation it’s not like swimming a length of the pool under water… we can come up for air again quite quickly.
When you think of it, most people don’t speak continuously for very long. They might have a short burst, then pause and stop up again.
So just breathe normally and speak until you need to breathe again, the listener is subconsciously waiting for that pause and, anyway, you can only hold their attention for so long.
So, listening to someone speaking uninterrupted for more than the length of a breath… it’s not normal is it? Maybe that’s why so many people don’t like to give presentations.
When you’re rehearsing your presentation, notice yourself speaking in phrases that are about the size of a single breath. Then occasionally (after breathing!), use the pause to ask a question (and breathe!). The audience will relax and give you their attention. They may even participate…because it’s how a conversation sounds.
The late educationalist Sir Ken Robinson of Tedx fame, was a master of this technique…
’Well, I didn’t think it was anything special myself’ he’d say, ‘actually, I couldn’t be bothered… you know what I mean?’.
All of those asides like …’have you noticed how…?’…give us a chance to breathe because they connect with us and they sounds natural and relaxed.
QUESTIONS = CONNECTIONS
Adding a question to a pause makes the presentation two-way. Can you handle that? It isn’t easy but once you’ve done it once and made that connection and found it worked, your presentations will never be the same again.
So, why in a presentation don’t we ask questions? Is it a respect thing, especially if the audience are more senior than us or is it we worry that if we stop, we won’t be able to start again or that we will be asked something we can’t answer?
Relax, because there are techniques to deal with each of these concerns. This is Advanced Presentation and as you’ve already completed the Basics, why not move up, spread your wings and start to enjoy it?
Find your own style, start your own portfolio of expressions, emotions, experiences and insights and experience the full 3D experience that the audience can connect with and appreciate.
It’s like learning to snorkel