If you know your communication style and your communication challenges, you not only will be more efficient at learning English but also in giving a presentation using the language.
Here, let’s look at the communication style that many people use in many other places, how it is different from your style and how you can use this information to improve your English and your presentation skills. Remember, many people have a combination of different styles. How we get the message across is as important as the message itself.
Good presenters always use language (sometimes single words, sometimes phrases) which shows where they are in their presentation. These ‘signposts’ make it easier for the audience to:
· follow the structure of the presentation
· understand the speaker more easily
· get an idea of the length and content of the presentation.
2. Tone and attitude
A frequent comment about a speaker’s style might involve their “boring” presentation voice tone. Or worse still, a commentator might refer to a speaker who drones on and on and on. Unfortunately, the two are often linked. Firstly, let’s consider conversation and presentation.
There are not many of us who have a problem with the art of conversation. Yes, there are undoubtedly some experts out there, but it isn’t something that concerns most of us. That’s because we know the rules. So we know what to expect and so do our co-conversationalists.
But we also speak at an understandable pace and with a volume or tone that is right. But when we take that same tone of voice into the presentation room, then we run the risk of sounding monotonic and perhaps…dull? Why is this?
Conversation Tone versus Presentation Voice Tone
The conversation style works when you are speaking in small groups with close proximity to one another. You do not need and certainly do not expect drama from your interlocutors. However, a good contentious subject will result in some drama.
But when speaking at a seminar, there is a distance between you and your audience. They are not your interlocutors. Therefore, your face-to-face positioning is replaced with a group to individual stare. So the relatively flat conversational tone, fine for daily use is rendered inappropriate by the combination of distance and body positioning.
Distance and one-to-many stances amplify a conversational tone. Where it is conversational on the front row, it is definitely monotonic and without emphasis at the back. And that is a problem when you want to seriously engage your presentation audience. Of course, you can try to get closer to your audience.
But no matter how close you are to the front row you are going to be further away from the second and third rows. And that is a problem. A problem because it cannot support a conversational tone.
Of course, there is a better presentation solution. Introduce some drama and excitement into your voice. Inject your speech with added emphasis. Use louder words at key moments or lower and softer phrases at others.
You should practise some exaggerated emphasis on either the first, middle or closing words in your sentences.
Visual aids can be a very powerful tool to enhance the impact of your presentations. Words and images presented in different formats can appeal directly to your audience’s imagination, adding power to your spoken words.
Think of using visual aids for the following reasons:
· If they will save words – don’t describe your results – show them;
· If their impact would be greater than the spoken word – don’t describe an image – show it.
Think about using a variety of different visual images. Try using photographs, tables, diagrams, charts, drawings, keywords, or video sequences. Be creative and deliberate in your choice of images to achieve the most impact.