Most of us use PowerPoint, but two of the options the program offers may be a little less familiar. Using them takes a little courage, but it’s well worth it, because they are remarkably effective. This is about the W and the B key. Try them out. Go into onscreen mode in a familiar presentation, click through some slides, and then at a random moment, press W. The screen will go blank, displaying pure white.
The sound of the voice and the way you speak make a huge difference when it comes to convincing your audience. These two factors account for almost forty per cent of the impression you create. This means the only thing that is even more important is how you look, because that gets a score of 55 per cent. By contrast, what you actually say (your content) only gets a measly seven per cent.
So how can you make your voice sound good without taking speaking lessons? First of all, taking lessons isn’t a bad idea. Second, there are some simple tips that you can follow right away.
Most of us don’t like the way we look on camera. There are several reasons for this, and one of them is simply that the camera makes you look as if you have put on weight. This is not out of spite, it’s something the camera can’t help doing. Consider a camera’s job. What it does is take three-dimensional reality and compress it into a two-dimensional image – flattening image depth, as it were. This is why we will always look, well, broader on screen. There’s a saying in Hollywood that the camera always adds ten pounds, and sometimes even more.
Ever fallen asleep while someone else made a speech? Chances are that person was reading from a script. That’s never a good idea. Make it a habit to speak from as few notes as you can. That way you’ll sound spontaneous. If you have to speak from a script, don’t just read it, but sing it. Be passionate about what you have to say and deliver it in a way that will make it easy for people to understand what you want them to know. If you find it difficult being passionate, then at least make sure people don’t fall asleep while you speak. Pick out the important terms in your script and mark them with an accent. Insert columns to mark pauses immediately before and after important messages, then underline the message.
Clothes make the man, and they always have. Clothes in this context has a wider meaning and includes both shoes and hairstyle. The reason our external appearance is so important is that human beings are more oriented by what they see than almost anything else. And they will usually see you before they hear you, so by the time you start to speak people will have created some sort of impression. So take your visuals seriously; like it or not, they actually matter more than the facts you have to tell. If you need to go before an audience, on camera or off, have your hair done a week ahead of the date. That way, you’ll look good, but people won’t get the impression you just walked in from the barber shop.