Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Delivery: making the points in your message stand out

Having prepared for your presentation and identified the major points in your message, you're ready for delivery.

The points you want to stress will come across with more impact if you make them stand out from the rest of the presentation. For example:

Change your pace, perhaps pausing before and after a major point. A pause is like additional ‘white space’ often used to set off important statements in print.
Raise your voice. Volume is like boldface type.
Change your body language by gesturing or simply shifting your weight. It’s like turning a page.

It’s important, however, to use these techniques judiciously to avoid diminishing their effectiveness.

I remember one individual who delivered his entire presentation with such volume that the veins on his neck bulged. Far from paying closer attention to his message I found myself thinking only of how I might escape from my front row seat.

Another speaker made a statement, paused and repeated it. At that moment, the technique seemed very effective. But shortly he did it again … and then again … until it seemed he was repeating every other statement, so that nothing stood out. It quickly became very INeffective.

Yet another speaker’s delivery had everything – relentless volume, frenetic movement and intensity – so that once again I couldn’t wait until it ended.

All three individuals were ‘authorities’ and frequent presenters but they obviously didn’t approach their presentations from the point-of-view of the audience.


Talk about making an impression! Not long ago an airline had to cancel a flight after the passengers overheard the pilot's loud, angry outburst on a cell phone call. Can you imagine what his pre-flight announcement would have sounded like? "Get in your bleepin' seats so we can bleepin' take off as soon as the bleepin' tower gives us bleepin' clearance!"


For more basics, see Writing for the Ear: a Primer in the left-hand column.

No comments: