Why A Bit Of Surprise Is Just What Your Next Business Presentation Needs

Adding a bit of surprise to your next speech will help your audience remember what you say
Adding a bit of surprise to your next speech will help your audience remember what you say
Image Credit: Maryland GovPics

Sigh. It’s time for you to give yet another business presentation. I’m not excited to hear you give it and I’d be willing to bet that despite the importance of public speaking you are not excited to give it. Hmm, this sorta looks like we are headed for a disaster. There has got to be a way to fix this problem. It turns out that there is and it’s actually pretty simple to do: add some surprise to your next business presentation.

How About A Little Bit Of Clash?

One of the reasons that our typical business meetings are so boring is because our audience feels as though they already know what we are going to be saying. This allows them to “tune” us out. As speakers, we can change this.

One simple way to go about doing this is by introducing a clash into your next business presentation. A clash is situation or a comment that clashes unexpectedly with the expectations of your audience. An example of this would be if you told your audience that you had taken a picture of every customer who really liked their product and then you showed them a picture of an empty room.

Mess With Your Words

One reason that audiences tend to start to ignore us when we are delivering a business presentation is because verbally we start to sound repetitive. Just the sound of our voice can sooth them and cause them to drift off. Once again, good news – you have the power to solve this problem. There are a couple of different ways to go about doing this and they all have to do with the words that you use. Clever phrases will wake your audience up (i.e. “killer app”). Alternatively, you can change you voice when you are talking about something. Just that change will often be enough to bring your audience back around to paying attention.

Mess With Your Audience

Who ever said that a business presentation had to be a passive activity for your audience? If you allow your audience to sit in their chairs and just stare at you for 30 to 60 minutes, then yes, you’ll probably lose them. However, if you interact with them then they will feel as though they are involved in your presentation and won’t be able to look away. A simple way to interact with your audience is to ask them questions. Don’t let these questions be simple yes / no questions, rather make them think and then make them yell out their answers. You’ll have their complete attention.

What All Of This Means For You

I’m sure that we’ve all sat through countless business presentations that we wish that we could get our time back from. The next time that you are asked to deliver a business presentation don’t do that to your audience. Do something different this time – work in some surprise.

Surprise is what it takes to wake up your audience and get their attention one more time. A great way to do this is to present them with a situation where what you end up saying clashes with what your audience was expecting. Next you can exaggerate the words that you use to capture your audience’s attention one more time. Finally, surprise your audience by including them in your presentation by asking them a question that requires them to respond.

One of the benefits of public speaking that you have going for you when you start your next business presentation is that your audience has very low expectations for you. They are not expecting much. This means that you have been presented with a fantastic opportunity to blow them away. Work some surprise into your next business presentation and see what happens!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you can safely exaggerate words in a business presentation or is this too much?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

They say that the world is getting smaller. I tend to believe that they are correct. However, there are still a lot of differences between here and there. When it comes to giving speeches, what this means is that there is a very good chance that at some point in the future you are going to find yourself being asked to give a speech to an audience who does not speak your language. What’s a speaker to do?

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