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Thursday, May 09, 2019

Engage as a Leader to Capture Audience Attention

Personal branding is about connecting emotionally. How do you connect with others through emotion? Is your communication and presentation style attracting, inspiring, supporting and influencing others? Can you portray leadership authority and executive presence through clear, compelling and concise communication?

Are you connecting through your presentation style?

Following on with my series of blogs on how to stand out as a leader through personal branding – E is to ENGAGE as a leader.

This week I was at a breakfast networking event where the Global CEO of the Commonwealth Games spoke. He engaged the audience with his succinct speech, spoke from the heart and injected some light humour into the presentation.

As a leader it is part of his job to be engaging and connect with audiences. Connecting and capturing attention through public speaking is one aspect of his role that has no doubt been honed well over the years.

Being able to inspire an audience through delivering a clear speech and engage through storytelling is a vital characteristic of leadership presence. It is a skill that can and should be learned and practiced at every opportunity.

Sometimes the best intentions of business owners to take to the floor and say a few words can do more harm than good.

As quoted by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "All the great speakers were bad speakers at first."

Here are a few presentation tips to help you engage and shine as a leader.

S – Succinct. Can you summarise what you have to say in a sentence?

Leading into your speech with a strong and compelling statement, statistic or anecdote on what you are talking about will spark interest and attention from you audience. If you take too long to get to the point whether it’s a speech, answer to a question or putting forward a business proposal, you risk losing the listeners’ attention. Say it simply.

H – Humour. The majority of presenters are not comedians and not expected to be. However, the most compelling speakers do inject some appropriate humour or light-hearted banter into their presentation.

Variety is what is required and can be built into your presentation through humour, use of props, audio-visuals, group exercises, audience involvement and storytelling. Try a range of techniques to keep your audience energised and interested.

I – Inspire with passion and enthusiasm for your topic.

Have a clear outcome in mind of what you want the audience to take away from your presentation. Remember it’s about them and how you make them feel. It could simply be that they feel comfortable with you to provide a particular service, or you’ve convinced them your product is the best on the market. It could be to motivate them to do something or inspire or challenge them to try something new.

N – Needs. What are the needs of the audience?

We might think about what we want to tell an audience, but what we really should consider is, what do they want to hear? Understanding your audience can help you deliver a presentation that is relevant to them.

Research the culture of organisation. Ask, what are the interests of the audience? What are their roles, ages, genders and educational backgrounds?  Find out if there is anything topical or controversial or how they will benefit from your presentation.

E – Environment.  One of the keys to engage as a leader through presenting well is to look confident and comfortable in the environment.

Know the room and layout beforehand and if possible, rehearse in the room or walk around and on stage beforehand. Know the equipment you are working with such as laptop, slides, AV, mic, handouts and other props.

I hope these few tips inspire you to take action and learn to be a compelling presenter.

If you would like to learn more about personal branding, take a look at my video series, NOOK, LOOK, HOOK, 3 Steps to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand.

Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding to boost image, profile, brand and business. Through her image management programs, workshops, consulting and keynote presentations, Sue helps businesses and entrepreneurs present an influential brand image.

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