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Scott Harvey discusses motivate your audience through delivery and effective presentation.

As a presenter and communicator, perhaps your most important goal is persuading your listeners that your message and key arguments are not only valid, but something upon which they must clearly understand and take action upon.

But how can you successfully motivate an audience and gain their conviction to your ideals?

Presentation Article and Advice about Your Audience

Motivate your Audience through delivery and Effective Presentation.

Scott Harvey, Managing Director, The Impossible Media Group
At some point in our careers we have all faced a situation where a business ethic, or issue that we consider to be of great importance needs to be communicated. More often than not the success in achieving our goals as communicators is not through stressing the importance of any specific point, item, or action, but rather lies in successfully convincing those to which the meaning has greatest relevance that your points are not only valid but moreover, critical.

In such an instance, do you prefer to speak directly with the individuals concerned? Perhaps you often favor calling at times when you know they are unable to respond, and so leave voice mail messages with an urgent tone? Do you perhaps write, maybe even email those that you feel should listen or act upon your arguments?

As a communicator, one must always favor speaking directly. The spoken word is persuasive, much more so than informational.

If your goals are informative, simply write the information down and pass it along. Summaries, memos, meeting referendums, are all purely informative, and serve no greater communicative goal. But if persuasion, motivation or action is your objective, then you need to speak to people, and your speech must be effectively presented, with a finely tuned and persuasive delivery.

Benefits drive action

Knowing your listener and tailoring your message to address their specific needs and interests is essential. You must know precisely what you want your listeners to do after you have expressed and communicated your points and arguments.

The key aspect of your presentation and performance is to remember that benefits drive action. If you can easily inform a listener that they will benefit from taking the action you suggest, then they are more likely to take that action. If you are unable to clearly communicate a benefit, then the likelihood of them taking the action is minimal.

The three keys to creating an active audience

Perhaps the three most important aspects in your successful communication and presentation of your thoughts are:
  1. Your delivery skills
  2. Content organization
  3. Listener and audience interaction

Your delivery skills

Undoubtedly the most important aspect of any successful communicator is their delivery skills.
  • Eye contact
  • Pauses, breathing, and composure
  • Vocal enthusiasm
Your audience and listener must have confidence in your message and argument. When speak to a friend about a subject you are passionate about, you look at them whilst you speak, you know exactly when to speak and when to pause, your voice echoes enthusiastically. These same traits are necessary for greater audiences too.

Without good delivery skills, your message is lost because you interfere with the listeners ability to have confidence in you and therefore your message or argument.

Content organization

Perhaps the worst presentations I have ever sat through are the ones where the speaker is so overly confident or so self assured of their position that they put little or no effort into their speech, message, or arguments.

The constant pauses, the "...errs", and the "...ahs", the lack of continuity of content, of organization, or preparation, quickly switches off an audience. And with that switch, any hope of inspiration, motivation, or action.

As a communicator, you must organize your content in the same way that people "listen". Walk and talk yourself through your arguments. What would a listener be thinking, "What do you want me to do?", "What are my benefits from this?", "Can I really trust what you're telling me?".

The human mind organizes the spoken word into threes. Often referred to as "The Rule of Three", or the "ABC" of organizing content.

A good communicator determines in advance the rule of three. Allowing the listener to retain the message and arguments of the communicator more easily without the feeling of being overwhelmed, or under inspired and switching off.

The "ABCs" of content organization are:
  1. Action
  2. Benefit
  3. Conviction

Listener and audience interaction

Communicators without a passion or conviction often rely on the content of their presentation bullet points, or cue cards. I'm sure you have also been to a presentation where the presenter either starts reading off line by line what is written and screened in front of you, or stands there nervously looking down reading a line from a card, looking up, then looking down again etc. etc. All too often these communicators sound like monotone robots, like a dictator, or as newsreaders with a poor autocue.

If you really want to communicate, if you really want to persuade your listeners and gain their conviction and action to your message, then you must interact. Whether its moving from podium, waving your arms, or responding to difficult or sometimes even hostile questions following your presentation. If your message was firm and challenges your audience's popular belief or current train of thought, you must be prepared to deal their reaction, often interpreted as hostile, but more often than not, merely the final hurdle of persuasion and action.

Effective delivery and presentation takes both knowledge and practice of a number of different skills.

Good communication is not merely a business practice. How many times have you heard a friend say that someone they know, "Could sell snow to an Eskimo"?

How many times have they said this about you?

Good communication is not about business skills it involves life skills, personality skills, and most importantly, an objective mind. We often see without really seeing, and we often speak without really speaking. A good communicator is not merely speaking, but thinking, informing, and motivating. Think about your message, and practice your arguments. Assess your delivery skills, improve your content organization and be prepared for greater audience interaction.

In time you'll discover your ability to persuade others and a process to communicating with your audience.
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