Sometimes those who are normally very expressive in conversation, lose all emotion, animation, ‘life’ at the lectern. The result is a monotonous delivery that puts their audience to sleep.
One of the most interesting people with whom I worked was Harris. A Canadian lawyer who was outgoing, extroverted and extremely colorful in normal conversation as well as in the courtroom, Harris was unable to deliver a presentation with the same enthusiasm and expression for which he was known.
When I recorded his presentation in rehearsal, he was stunned at how stiff, how boring and how dry he was: his delivery was lackluster, devoid of any emotion or expression.
I told him to do it again but this time to imagine he was sitting at the kitchen table giving the same presentation to his wife Donna. His immediate reaction was that it would not sound right. I told him to trust me. So, he followed my advice and the result was a presentation that was dynamic. In addition, he looked and sounded normal and natural.
If your presentations are lacking in expression and you are normally expressive in conversation, there are 3 things you need to change:
1. Take control of your nervousness. If nervousness is in control of you, then your emotion, your expression, your color will never come through.
2. Make eye contact with your audience. Talk to them, not at them.
3. Treat your audience as if you were having a conversation in your living room.
So, how do you take control of your nervousness when your stomach is in knots, your mouth feels like the Sahara desert, your knees are shaking, and your voice is quivering? Learn to breathe with the support of your diaphragm. Shallow or lazy breathing, which is typical of 99% of the population, actually increases your stress because it does not allow for the elimination of the toxins in the body. And those toxins exacerbate your nervousness.
If you learn to breathe with support, you will then be eliminating the toxins thereby decreasing your stress. You will still be nervous but you will be in control of it, allowing it to work for you and not against you. You will then discover why nervousness is a good thing: that rush of adrenaline can take your presentation to a whole new level and allow you to talk to your audience effectively, dynamically, expressively.
Boring doesn’t sell; a dynamic delivery does!