From Intention to Action To Results in 2018
A new year inspires us to review our habits and spend time planning the year ahead. We make resolutions, and set intentions, but that’s only the first step. An action plan needs to follow.
Are you inspired to move your listener to action, to be engaging and influential, to be seen as a leader?
To become a compelling communicator, your intentions need to be specific.
- What qualities create an engaging presentation?
- How do you determine credibility?
- Exactly what is it that makes a person appear confident and trustworthy?
Intention → Action
The first step in getting from intention to tangible results is to identify changes that would lead to improvement in two areas — delivery skills and content.
For instance, if you want your presentations to be more engaging, implement the delivery skills that are most important when it comes to engaging an audience; eye connection, pause and voice, posture and movement. Then assess where you particularly need to improve. Maybe you’re great at eye contact, but your voice tends to be a bit monotone. Maybe you have a great voice, but tend to freeze in place instead of using the entire space or stage to engage your listeners. Determine if you are scanning the audience or really connecting with individuals’ eyes for a sentence before moving on to the next person.
Identifying the changes you need to make involves getting honest feedback from friends or trusted colleagues and taking the time to watch videos of yourself – either videos from your smartphone, or videos of an actual presentation you’ve done. This is difficult for most people – we are always so hard on ourselves! But it is necessary if you want to improve.
It helps to focus on one thing – eye connection or vocal tone, for instance – and make notes about the changes you need to make. It’s easier and more effective to work on one skill at a time vs trying to change everything at once.
Next, you’ll want to look at the content of your presentation with an eye to making it more engaging and listener-focused. Take the time to analyze your listeners knowledge level, interests, needs, opinions and attitudes, then design your message specifically with them in mind. Using stories, pictures, and analogies that are relevant to your subject will make your presentations more memorable. Identify clear actions that you want your listeners to take and the benefits for those actions. Be aware of what loses their interest, such as too much repetition, disorganized material, or cluttered slides.
Review your presentation as objectively as possible, making sure it is listener-focused, organized, clear, and your slides support your message instead of distracting from your words. (Keep in mind that human brains are not wired to listen and read at the same time.)
Action → Results
Once you have made the changes in your presentation and identified the needed upgrades to your delivery skills, it’s time to practice. If you want continuing results, evaluating delivery skills and re-writing your content are just a start. Practice is what brings tangible results in your skill level, and gives you the confidence to be fully present, spontaneous, and interactive in front of your listeners. You can practice in front of a mirror, ask friends or colleagues to listen and give you feedback, or best of all, set up a mini-presentation and video yourself.
It’s a combination of knowledge, self-awareness, and regular practice that will give your presentations the polish, effectiveness, and professionalism you want. If you’d like some help polishing your skills, we are holding an open enrollment Present with Confidence program on March 27-28 in the Chicago area. See below for more information.