We are almost a quarter of a century into this millennium, and Effective Presentations is gearing up for a transformative year.
The days of passive presentations are behind us. Scripted and rehearsed presentations are giving way to more authentic and genuine forms of public speaking. The value of speaking from the heart, sharing real-life experiences, and connecting with your audience on a more personal level sets presentations apart. Today, audiences, above all else, value authenticity. Authenticity builds trust, and trust is the #1 Determinant of Team Effectiveness.
In 2024, trust will be a cornerstone of successful communication.
When I think back to the skills, I learned in my high school public speaking class *cough* 25 years ago… The stress was put on ensuring the information was complete and delivered perfectly. I was told to cross my hands in front of or behind me, to look above people’s heads, to have my script memorized, and WHATEVER you do, DON’T MESS UP! One memorable presentation was to recite a recipe – if we forgot an ingredient or messed up the measurements, we were docked a grade point. No wonder people fear public speaking!
The good news is those days are long passed, the bad news is that misconceptions about public speaking and presenting are still alive and well. It seems nearly impossible to foster authenticity in a presentation when the stressful situation of public speaking feels inauthentic to most. Unpacking the recent trends of public speaking, presentations, and even leadership can help us overcome deficits in authenticity. Once we understand the skills involved, all it takes is a mindset shift and a determination to practice new tactics.
Here are just a few examples of how to make 2024 the year your communication skills shifted:
IT STARTS WITH YOUR AUDIENCE:
Today’s audience seeks out speakers who go beyond simply delivering information. As an audience, we want to connect with the presenter and collectively feel seen. Keeping your audience at the center of your presentation will ensure your message lands effectively. Unfortunately, most presentations are prepared and delivered from the perspective of the presenter, not the audience. As a presenter, it is critical to consider what the audience NEEDS to know and make the presentation for your audience.
DITCH THE DETAILED DECK:
You cannot overstate the value of quality visuals in presentations and communication. A picture is worth a thousand words. The trend of filling our slide decks with numbers, figures, and facts is over. The most effective way to use imagery is by selecting a single image that supports your message. This gives our audience an easy-to-digest aid that doubles down on your content and makes it memorable.
The misconceptions about storytelling are that:
a.) It has to be personal
b.) It has to be a story
Of course, those two things can and should be true in the appropriate situation. However, a new way to reframe storytelling is to define it as having the ability, as a presenter, to ask yourself: how can I best explain this information to my audience? Data or tech-heavy presentations increase the risk that your audience might not understand or digest the complex information. In these situations, a metaphor or analogy can be a powerful tool to help your audience understand and remember your information.
PUBLIC SPEAKING TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT:
Public Speaking training & development has emerged as one of the most valuable skills for personal and professional growth. The confidence that comes from quality training develops an executive presence. Leveling up your executive presence is the number one skill that makes individuals stand out as leaders.
The days of presentations being used as a vehicle for information are over. Audiences need to be engaged, and presenters need to recognize the transformative power of becoming a well-rounded, effective communicator. This means that our development of skills and mindset about presentations, public speaking, and leadership HAVE to change.
At Effective Presentations, we have been, and continue to stay curious, about how communication is evolving. We are constantly looking to improve our workshops and build new ones. Our goal is to grow and develop with the most current and successful trends in the communication and leadership world. We have witnessed the transformative power of investing in public speaking training as an upskilling opportunity and a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.
Imagine it’s the dawn of 2025; where would your life be if you started your communication journey today?