I’ve been attending a few more face to face meetings and events recently and one thing that has struck me is that because we’ve been used to speaking to a screen for the last 18 months some people are out of practice when it comes to addressing an audience without the aid of a microphone.
We thought it might be useful to post a reminder of some best practice so here are some simple tips for making sure that you’re heard and engage your audience.
- Face your audience – e.g don’t turn your back and read from a projection screen – if you have your back to the audience when speaking your voice can/will be lost.
- If necessary, move to a position in the room where you can see everyone and they can see you.
- When speaking imagine you are talking to the furthest away person in the room – if they can hear you then everyone else who is closer than them will also be able to hear you.
- If you are speaking from your position in the room rather than from a platform wait until you have fully stood up before starting to speak. If you are adjusting your chair as you start to speak your audience are distracted and your opening remarks will be lost. Similarly finish what you are saying before sitting down.
- When you stand up, stay grounded – don’t dance from foot to foot. I once heard this described as visual noise.
- Introduce some colour into what you’re saying by varying the tone of your voice.
- Look at your audience – by that I mean look at different people around the room to make them feel included – don’t stare at one person throughout – you may scare them.
- If using notes, use them as a prompt. However if you have to read them verbatim – write them out as you would speak them as it will sound more natural.
- If using PowerPoint – use it to complement your presentation. Use pictures where possible and keep words to a minimum. If you find yourself saying, “ I know you can’t read this slide but….”, then take it out.
- Smile – be happy. It’s infectious and it’s ok to pass it on.