Putting the Va-va-voom into presentation skills
When it comes to pitching an idea to business guru Richard Branson, budding entrepreneurs need all the help they can get. Which is why domain company 123reg.com, which is a partner in this year’s Virgin Voom initiative, invited Stephanie to show some of its chosen entrepreneurs the secrets of successful presentation and communication skills.
The Voom initiative gives hopefuls the chance to pitch their business ideas to Sir Richard in the hope of financial backing and a holiday on Necker Island.
123reg.com has selected several of its online businesses to take part. Stephanie showed them how to pitch their ideas passionately and also spoke about why happiness is a vital consideration in any budding organisation. Here’s some of the top tips we gave the Voom hopefuls:
- Get emotional – in any presentation, communication or message you want to connect to people emotionally. When our emotional brain is engaged we are more likely to remember things and when the emotion is a positive one or linked to a positive message that makes us feel good or inspired in some way we make stronger connections to that bit of information. Positive emotions release serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, these are all neurotransmitters and we need neurotransmitters to link and embed information.
- Tell a story and take people with you – Stories are a great way to engage with your audience. The brain likes a story as it can follow it better and we can get swept along in the telling of a story. An audience is more likely to engage with a story than just facts.
- Use words to paint a picture. As we think in visuals rather than words, if you are able to use words to paint a picture the information becomes more memorable and real.
- Get creative and have fun with your audience. The more you can get your audience to join in with what you are doing in a physical way the more likely you are to be remembered and stand-out. We have memory in our muscles so getting people to stand-up, take part, do actions while you tell them something means they are using all their muscles to remember the information as well as storing it in the brain. If we make the interactivity fun, then you are also combining the emotional memory and are sure to stand-out as the presenter who did something to remember.
- Get the audience laughing and make them happy. How do you want to leave people feeling after you have spoken to them? Research tells us people are more likely to remember how you made them feel rather than what you told them. What’s your call to action at the end of your presentation?
- Keep it simple. Use simple language and words. Some people think using big word is impressive, it’s not and the brain doesn’t think so either. Research shows people connect with simple, to-the-point language. It makes more sense and is easier to understand.
- Be you, be natural – This sounds simple, but we tend to take on a different persona when we are presenting, try to relax and be less formal and show your true self.
- Show a little vulnerability – People like to see the human behind the presentation and baring a little of your soul and showing a little vulnerability is definitely a good thing. shows you have feelings and people love to see someone growing in front of their very eyes.
- FLIP your nerves – practice breathing deeply to control your heart-rate and focus on a time you felt great. You can even invent a positive mantra that will help you control the auto-negative dialogue inside your head. An example might be – I deserve to be here and I can do this. Learn more about FLIP
- Smile – smiling is highly contagious and vastly underestimated as a tool to sell and connect. A study at Penn State University found that people who smile are more likeable, perceived as more courteous. and even more competent. This is reason enough to smile at every person you potentially want to do business with.
If you want to improve your presentation skills, you can book a place on the Laughology Presentation skills 1 day workshop.