Let’s review a common scenario for just a moment. You have done your best to prepare for an important presentation you must deliver internally or externally. You’ve created a myriad of PowerPoint slides and have practiced each and every word over and over. The day your scheduled to present, you get in front of the audience and you go weak in the knees, you begin to sweat and your voice seems to have dropped 20 decibels to a choked up whisper. What just happened? Statistics reveal that public speaking ranks as the #1 fear of the human being. Even death is lower on the scale! We already know this. But, what else do we know?
Let’s take a look at the various components of a presentation. Every presentation you deliver in front of an audience is made up of 3 components. We call them the 3 V’s:
These 3 components together convey the total believability of the message you are delivering. Now, let’s define them.
The Visual component is everything that the audience sees or doesn’t see. It includes how you get out of your chair, proceed to the front of the room, how your dressed, how you stand, walk, nervous habits and your gestures. It also includes any visual aids that you use, such as PowerPoint or a whiteboard.
The Vocal component compromises not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it. It includes your volume, the tone of your voice, the pace at which you speak and also pauses that you include or don’t include in your material.
The Verbal component is simply comprised of the words that you speak and your grammar. These are the same words that you likely spent most of your time preparing and that are on the pages you have in front of you. Unless you are presenting on the phone and the audience can’t see you, your presentation will have all 3 of these components. Note that even a webinar has slides and visual components.
The 3 V’s are the tools you have to deliver 100% impact and believability. Here is the catch. Studies have shown that each of these 3 components has a very different weighting in the overall impact of your message. The figures are quite astonishing! The weight of each component follows:
This means that your own appearance (dress, walk, stance, nervous habits, gestures) and any visuals you incorporate are the most powerful tools you have to convey your message. Next in order, is HOW you say what you say with enthusiasm and conviction, rather than the exact words you have written down. No wonder politicians with great poise, charisma and a convincing tone get elected without really saying anything new!
Typically, we invest the majority of our time and energy preparing what we are going to say without paying attention to our delivery skills. This simply doesn’t work based upon what we know about the way human beings digest information.
A very seasoned speaking coach once gave the most valuable tip I have ever received on delivering a successful presentation that reflects this data. I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me!
“The audience will never be more excited or enthusiastic about the presentation than the presenter.”
Most speakers get up in front of an audience and do what they feel most comfortable doing, using slides packed with information while leaving out any gestures or vocal variety. They deliver exactly the way they have in the past and achieve mediocre results. The audience pays them back with disinterest and boredom.
If you expect the folks sitting in front of you to listen and take interest in your material and be motivated enough to act, then you must heed the rules we are discussing here.
We didn’t invent the rules. No one did. We must deal with the hand we are dealt and the way an audience receives information by delivering presentations that are audience centered. We must focus the majority of our attention on the visual and vocal components we so often leave out. You can’t change the rules, but you can change the way you deliver your material.
Check out our Presentation Skills Workshop to drastically improve your effectiveness in these areas. It will be one of the best things you have ever done for yourself both personally and professionally.
John Males is Founder and President of Fathom Corporate Training. With more than 20 years of experience in management, sales and negotiations, he helps clients increase employee satisfaction, lower turnover, increase revenue and raise profit margins.