Speaking Power: How To Get It, How To Use It

by drjim on September 1, 2009

A Speaker's Power Comes From Within

A Speaker’s Power Comes From Within

If you really want to connect with your audience and make an impact in their lives, then you’re going to have to discover out how to speak with power. The trick is that power is a tricky thing – you can’t touch it, you can’t buy it, you’ve got to find it and hold on to it. The good news is that I know how you can do this…

It Isn’t All About The Slides

In the quest for speaking power, all too often speakers attempt to create the very best PowerPoint slides in the vain hope that if they have powerful slides, then their speech will also have power. Sorry, it doesn’t work this way.

George Torok is a professional speaker who has spent time studying how speakers use PowerPoint slides. He’s come up with the three following observations:

  1. Everybody Uses PowerPoint: one of the big problems with PowerPoint is that everyone uses it – it’s not special. No matter how good your slides are, your audience has seen similar slides like that before.
  2. PowerPoint Is Easy To Use: because it’s easy to use, it’s all too easy to start to believe that your slides are the centerpiece of your presentation. This is not the case and many presenters have been fooled.
  3. Good Slides Can Cover A Bad Presenter: the belief that fantastic slides can smooth over flaws in a presentation has lead too many speakers to fall flat during their presentations.

Where Does Power Really Come From?

It turns out that the power that you need in order to deliver an effective presentation comes from within you. If you believe in yourself and the message that you are delivering, then you’ll have the power that you need to give an effective presentation. Once you believe in yourself, your next job is to convey power to your audience.

Projecting Power

In order to communicate your power to your audience, you’ll need to do the following four  things:

  1. Look Powerful: How you physically look to your audience is the first step in communicating your power to your audience. The simplest way to do this is to smile at your audience. This helps you to convey both trust and confidence.
  2. Posture Counts: Taking the time to stand up straight. All too often we stoop over and hunch our shoulders as we focus on what we are saying. If we stand up straight we’ll be projecting power to our audience.
  3. Use Your Voice: One of a speaker’s most powerful tools is your voice. In order to communicate power to your audience, you need to speak slowly and deepen your voice. Additionally, using pauses and actually saying less will allow more time for your words to sink in with your audience.
  4. Your Words Count: keeping your words short and simple will allow your speech to have more power than using longer more complicated words. The harder it is for your audience to understand and comprehend your message, the more diluted your power will be.

Final Thoughts

Audiences want to be told what to do or what to believe. However, in order for a speaker to be able to accomplish this you need to be able find and use your power.  Realizing that this power does not come from PowerPoint slides is the first step.

In order to release the power that you have within yourself you need to use your appearance, your voice, and your words to convey power to your audience.  Learn to do this well and you’ll be able to intimately connect with your audience and make an lasting impact in their lives.

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When you think of the perfect speech in your mind, what do you see? Do you see yourself up on a stage giving a speech, reaching the end, and then having everyone stand up and applaud until their hands grow tired? Nice picture. However, all too often that doesn’t happen…

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

CK September 7, 2009 at 3:01 am

Jim,

Very appropriate post. Presenters today use, reuse, overuse and abuse PowerPoint so much that audience “gets slide fatigued”.I too feel PowerPoint should supplement a presentation and not overwhelm it.

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Dr. Jim Anderson September 12, 2009 at 2:35 pm

CK: what’s interesting is that we all seem to be feeling the same way about PowerPoint. One of the best uses of slides (I don’t think that they are PowerPoint) is done by Apple’s Steve Jobs – few words, fantastic pictures, and really just part of the background. Hmm, maybe we all need a very creative AV department to back us up…?

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