If you think about speakers who really connect and truly engage an audience, there’s a good chance it will be those who bring an authentic energy, enthusiasm and excitement to their presentations. These qualities are infectious and they enable speakers to bring their audience on a journey with them. But how do you inject energy into your presentation? Here are five ways to infuse your talk with a liveliness that will have your audience captivated:
- Passion The most important factor in boosting the energy of your speech is to be passionate about your topic. In some situations, you may not have the choice to speak about something you’re passionate about; however, if you want to be a great public speaker, you need to find an angle or a way to be enthusiastic about the topic. Because if you don’t love what you’re speaking about, how can you expect your audience to? Passion is infectious; you can read more about it in my blog post The Power of Passion in Public Speaking.
- Gestures Many of us naturally ‘talk with our hands’ but often when we get in front of an audience we start to feel uncomfortable and either become rigid trying to keep our hands still, or we make all manner of distracting movements due to nerves. But natural gestures are the key to enhancing your delivery, as long as they are purposeful. Ensure your gestures are open to the audience which will help to engage them. The larger your gestures are, the more confident you appear and the easier it is for you to communicate your message to the entire audience, including those people at the back of the room. This is particularly important if it is a large venue.
- Movement Your energy will be more challenging to communicate with the audience if you are stuck behind a lectern so, where possible, ensure you are able to use any available stage area in front of and beside the lectern so that there is no barrier between you and the audience. As you move around the stage (purposeful movements rather than wandering), take slightly larger steps than you would normally and move quickly (once again, move purposely and not erratically).
- Voice The energy in your voice has a significant impact on your presentation; think about how dull and boring a presenter is if they speak in a monotone. There are several ways you can use your voice to add energy. Firstly, increasing the volume and projecting your voice will ensure you sound more confident and in control. Secondly, whilst nerves sometimes make us speak more quickly than usual, so does excitement (think about when you’re eagerly sharing a story with your friends) and as long as your diction is clear, increasing the pace of your speech will definitely add a natural energy (just be sure to include pauses to give your audience an opportunity to process what you're saying!) Finally, varying the pitch, pace, tone and rhythm with help your voice, and your message, to sound more powerful and dynamic.
- ‘Inner Oomph’ It is difficult to define your ‘inner oomph’ but I think of it as the fire in your belly; the adrenaline that kicks in when you’re excited. Use this adrenaline and channel it into your speech. Breathe deeply to control it and then allow it to drive your presentation. Smile and let your personality shine!
What are your thoughts? What other ways do you bring energy to your presentations? Feel free to post your ideas in the comments section.
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