One of the biggest annual conferences in the Healthcare Industry is approaching and it is going to feature bug speakers from different fields of healthcare. As the attendees are Preparing for Enhanced Learning Experiences, the speakers are also preparing their talks and presentation so they can give the attendees the best conference experience and share all the new knowledge they have. If you are a speaker or plan to be a speaker in the future, below are some tips to arm yourself with while you prepare for your presentation, talk, speech etc.
Frame Your Story
So you have your topic and you know what to talk about. The next thing is, to the best way you can, conceptualize and frame your topic into a story. Find the perfect mix of data and narrative. Use metaphors and storytelling to help your audience visualize what you are saying and take them on a journey with you. You need to figure out where to start and where to end and how to navigate your story so the audience does not get bored or even worse, confused. If you assume they have more knowledge or interest than they do, or if you start using jargon or get too technical, you’ll lose them. The most engaging speakers do a superb job of very quickly introducing the topic, explaining why they care so deeply about it and convincing the audience members that they should, too.
Pick your topic and stick with it. If you try to cover too much ground or talk about too many things, you will lose the attention of your audience. If you try to cram in everything you know, you won’t have time to include key details, and your talk will disappear into abstract language that may make sense if your listeners are familiar with the subject matter but will be completely opaque if they’re new to it. You need specific examples to flesh out your ideas. So limit the scope of your talk to that which can be explained, and brought to life with examples, in the available time.
Plan Your Delivery
After figuring out your story the next step is to plan your method of delivery. There are three main ways to deliver a talk. You can read it directly off a script or a teleprompter. You can develop a set of bullet points that map out what you’re going to say in each section rather than scripting the whole thing word for word. Or you can memorize your talk, which entails rehearsing it to the point where you internalize every word verbatim.
Reading from a teleprompter can come across as distancing and will cause your audience to not feel connected to you. When you read to an audience, everything will start to feel very formal and will cause them not to be very interested. If you want to give your talk word for word, then you have to spend time memorizing your speech over and over again. This can be quite time-consuming and not everyone has the time for that. If you give a memorized speech without memorizing it properly, it will end in you either standing awkwardly and staring into space while you try to remember your lines and this will create distance between you and your audience. If you rehearse enough times, you can get read of this awkwardness and the speech becomes part of you so much that the flow of words come naturally. When you have this locked down, then you can focus on delivering talks with authenticity and adding your own spontaneity and flare during the talk.
Develop Stage Presence
When you have your speech and system of delivery locked down, the next thing to focus on is having good stage presence. Being on stage can be quite intimidating for inexperienced speakers and some people don’t realize how overwhelming it is until they get up there. Where you stand, how you stand, what you do with your arms while talking and you body language all contribute to how your message is received by your audience. If you move too much you would distract your audience and will come across as inexperienced. You want to avoid this as you’re probably speaking on something you have authority on.
For inexperienced speakers, the physical act of being onstage can be the most difficult part of giving a presentation—but people tend to overestimate its importance. Getting the words, story, and substance right is a much bigger determinant of success or failure than how you stand or whether you’re visibly nervous. And when it comes to stage presence, a little coaching can go a long way. When in doubt, it’s better to just stand still. There are some people who are able to walk around a stage during a presentation, and that’s fine if it comes naturally. But the vast majority are better off standing still and relying on hand gestures for emphasis. You can also use a podium and the podium not only covers you so you feel less nervous but it also boosts your confidence as you don’t have to worry about how you look walking around or shaking one leg while you speak.
Make Eye Contact
Perhaps the most important physical act onstage is making eye contact. Find five or six friendly-looking people in different parts of the audience and look them in the eye as you speak. Think of them as friends you haven’t seen in a year, whom you’re bringing up to date on your work. That eye contact is incredibly powerful, and it will do more than anything else to help your talk land. Even if you don’t have time to prepare fully and have to read from a script, looking up and making eye contact will make a huge difference.