How to Get Your Point Across!

Empty Chairs at presentationDo you sometimes feel like no one is listening to you? Does it feel that in meeting after meeting the same old stuff is being trotted out and no one really listens to anyone? Here are a few tips which might help you to stand out more in the workplace, to get your point across and make a real impact!

Six Tips to Help You be Heard:

1) Abandon PowerPoint.

It’s usually dull or overpowering.
We’ve all sat through presentations from someone who has just been on the power point course and use every gizmo going. They either stun their audience into silent submission, or extreme catatonia. People mentally switch off or, are looking at the gizmos not the content. Worse is the person who simply scans in reams of script that no one can read anyway!

If you must use it try to keep to three main points on one page, points that back up what you are actually saying. And don’t turn to look at the screen; keep eye contact with your colleagues.

If it’s the norm in your workplace to do presentations using the dreaded Power Point try leaving it behind for at least one day. Introduce an element of surprise, dare to be a bit different. You might start a trend…

2) Pose a direct question.

Involve your audience from your opening words. For example, if you’re reporting back on sales figures don’t begin with a bald statement of the figures. Try and create a sense of mystery about them. I don’t mean host a quiz (although that’s an idea!) Try ‘Do you remember what sales area broke records for us this last time last year?’ Or ‘How many staff do you think completed our latest on line survey on working conditions?’

Asking a question is open and so requires closing; people’s interest will be piqued.

3) Give Some Details.

Actually putting some context into your talk is helpful. People remember detail and it adds an air of credibility and authenticity. For example, if you’re talking about a trip to another site or office, include some description.

4) Give it Some Height. 

If you are at a seated meeting,stand up when it’s your turn. Studies have shown that people attribute power to tall people. This is an important point if you are a woman and therefore probably shorter than your male counterparts. I’m not advocating teetering about on heels but own your space and inhabit it all. Remember that information is received in many ways but the most commonly quoted statistics estimate:

7% is the actual words that you use
38% is your tone of voice
55% is the appearance of the speaker.

Be careful with that last figure. Words are clearly important but if what you are saying is incongruent with your body language and expression, people will believe the body, not the voice. Look as if what you have to say is important. Be interested in what you are saying; if you don’t look captured by your words it’s certain no one else will!

 5) Be Specific.

When you are explaining ideas use examples that people can visualise easily. People find abstract ideas harder to remember and understand. If you want your ideas to stick try and come up with a good analogy. When we’re told the national debt of a country is so much we generally don’t understand or remember.

However, if we’re told that it’s the equivalent of every person living in London having a massive £100,000 overdraft, it sticks.

6. Men and Women use Different Body Language

Remember that women nod to say “I am listening, I understand, carry on”. Men nod when they agree with what you are saying and they do not give as many obvious listening signals as women.

Do share your most helpful tips for making effective presentations.


Posted on November 12th, 2009 by

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