It’s probably not a good idea to present a talk publicly that you haven’t practiced privately. Practicing in front of an audience of family and friends can be helpful. However, presenting in front of colleagues might be more instructive. There are essentially three areas that contribute to an effective presentation: 1) content, 2) body language, and 3) tone.
Content: Familiarizing yourself with your content means that you know it backwards and forwards. Don’t just memorize your presentation; engage your content. Ensure your stories make one or more important points.
Body language: Body language encompasses your hand gestures, movements, posture, and facial expressions; your ability to manage these can be the difference between a good presentation and a great one!
Tone: Practicing tone means managing speed, volume, and inflection to ensure that you are heard clearly and powerfully. Tone can greatly affect how the audience receives the message you are communicating.
May 2019 Speakers Lab
On May 8, NSA members and candidates gathered in Northville to learn from each other and support our mutual goal of improving our message and delivery. The event was hosted by Karyl Morris Eckerle. The persons presenting were Deneen Troupe-Buitrago, Suzanne Young, Wisetta Dolsey, and myself.
My overall experience was very positive. I think having the Speakers Lab regularly is a great idea. The Speakers Lab is a valuable benefit for NSA-MI members. It affords members the opportunity to practice their presentations in front of a live audience. I particularly enjoyed being able to self-evaluate my presentation by answering the following questions:
- Was I confident?
- Did I strike the right tone?
- Was my message clear and did I make a point(s)?
Having an audience is extremely important. I also think it is helpful to tell the audience what you want them to look and listen for.