I recently provided a workshop for the Center for Women in Enterprise entitled “Speak with Power and Confidence” at their Providence, RI location We had a great turnout. A couple of the more interesting things we talked about were the impact of a “pause”, and the use of a great (appropriate) quote. The next time you listen to a good speaker, one thing to notice is the pauses he or she makes. A pause, used correctly, serves to draw attention to the next thing you are going to say. It makes the audience anticipate what comes next. It breaks the flow of the presentation and “wakes” the listener up to the fact that something has changed. This sets the stage for increased awareness of what you say next. The next time you listen to a good speaker, pay attention to the way they speak, and I know you will notice things that you may have missed in the past. Such as the pause.
So, use the pause carefully. A good presentation is something that you think about, something that you plan, and something that you practice. Some people are naturally gifted speakers, but even they (or perhaps especially them), work on it and prepare. Practice the use of a good pause. Make it count.
I also said we talked about the use of a good (relevant) quote. There are smart phone apps you can download (I use “Famous Quotes”), and all sorts of web sites (such as www.quotationspage.com). But remember, the quote must be relevant to your topic. For example, if you are presenting to your sales force and what to impress upon them the need to go the extra mile, you could quote Charles Kendall Adams (an American educator and historian) who said “No one ever attains success by simple doing what is required of him.” Or maybe the company is going through a rough patch. You could quote Churchill “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Be warned. A good (or great) presentation, speech, whatever you call it, takes work, preparation and practice. But, when you do a good job, doesn’t it feel great?