BCC's consultations begin with two primary questions: 1) Who is the target audience? and 2) What is your argument? The answer to the first question is sometimes as simple as "the professor." In business the target audience is the person or group who influences or drives decisions. For instance, in a presentation to the board of directors, decisions may be driven by a few influential people. Your messages may be compelling. However, if they do not target the decision makers, your arguments will have little impact. The second question starts a process to discover the primary arguments. Because we do not think in words, this question guides the conversation to the images that make the words powerful. Powerful speakers concentrate on the images they want others to value and remember. It's all about storytelling; the imagery is the power.
Do you think of public speaking as a performance?Treating public speaking as a performance increases anxiety. A few people are effective at being performers, but for most of us, this mindset creates a substantial amount of anxiety. It's easy to become trapped by this mindset. It's often taught in public speaking training. You don't deliver a speech to an audience; you engage people. A performance mindset can result in actions being inward. The inward position of an arm gesture hinged at your body reinforces the same self-focus that created it. Try increasing your volume while gesturing. Your arm should extend outward more naturally. If it doesn't, you may be trapped by this mindset. Increase your volume more until you notice a change. The more outward your focus to others, the less anxiety. It's not easy, but it's a mindset change that has long-lasting impacts.
How can I create a more engaging presentation? Instead of thinking of a presentation as a performanc, a presenter should 1) connect with participants/decision makers, 2) direct and hold their attention, 3) promote understanding and memory, and 4) drive participants to action. Our 10 Steps to a More Powerful Presentation guide you through the process of achieving these goals.
How do I eliminate my distractions?Your communicative actions are integrated. Improving your breathing enhances your eye engagement. Likewise, eliminating distractions jump-starts improving your communicative actions. It redirects the energy from distractions to constructive engagement. For example, by eliminating hair twisting, you begin to extend your gestures outward more raising your volume while increasing your eye gaze. To eliminate hair twisting, place a notecard between your thumb and index fingers. You will still be able to gesture, but begin to notice how frequently you attempt to touch your hair. This strategy also works to reduce other hand distractions. Check out how to minimize other distractions.