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How to Add Pizzazz to Your Everyday Presentations
by Chris King

In previous articles, I have addressed a wide range of speaking opportunities for making powerful presentations. One area, however, we haven’t addressed covers everyday interactions with peers, clients, prospects, and family members. We spend an inordinate amount of time and effort preparing for a scheduled speech and/or meeting, but we often don’t consider the importance of daily relationship building through presentations. In this article, I am going to discuss the many ways we can add pizzazz to our everyday interactions with others.

Make a list of your everyday presentation opportunities. As you know by now, I am a great proponent of writing lists, notes, and ideas on paper. Somehow this interaction between the hand, pen, and paper helps to clarify and cement what we are thinking and where we are going. It makes us pay attention. What do I mean, then, by everyday presentation opportunities. Start with the morning. Are you surrounded by family members? How cordially and intelligently do you speak to them? Or, do you just grunt? If you leave a message on your home phone, is it pleasant, interesting, and inviting (even if the caller is an un-welcomed salesperson)? At the first place you visit after leaving home — possibly the gym or your place of work, how many people do you schmooze with and how? Every voice mail message you leave during the day, every live conversation over the phone or in person, and every time you make a purchase or pass someone on the street or in the hallway is another opportunity. You have the idea. Your list of presentation opportunities could fill several pages.

Take time to consider the list and ways in which you could add some pizzazz. By now, you may be thinking, come on Chris, what is the sense of all of this time and effort? I feel strongly that if we want to be powerful communicators and leave a lasting impression with everyone with whom we come into contact, we need to seize the day and use all of our presentation skills from morning to night and during every interaction. Make it a habit to add pizzazz and speak with power, and your scheduled speaking engagements will get better and better. Following are some of the ways to add that pizzazz!

Check the vitality level of your voice. Yes, we have talked about vocal variety and adding enthusiasm to your presentations, but I haven’t stressed the importance of practicing in everyday situations. Listen to the phone messages you have left on your home phone and voice mails. Work on those messages if you need to add some oomph. When we exhibit enthusiasm and energy in our messages — whether they are on our systems or we are leaving a message on someone else’s system — we are saying that we care about that other person as much as we care about a member of our audience. This is the time to mention the importance working on our in person telephone delivery. There are whole courses and workshops to address this skill for those who usually answer the phone, but everyone needs to pay attention to this important presentation skill. The person on the other end of the transmission can hear a smile. They can also note if you are in a rush to cut them off, or disinterested in what they are saying. (note: if there is anything that I hate and lowers my opinion of a person and/or company, it is being put “on hold.” Would you say to an audience, “I am going to put you on hold for a moment while I answer my cell phone?”)

A powerful presenter interacts with audience members. How about those you meet and speak with? Part of being an excellent presenter is the ability to interact with our listeners. When we are using our everyday opportunities, we need to become even more conscious about how effectively we are interacting. Do we ask others open-ended questions like, "How was your day? What did you do or feel?" And, then do we truly listen to the answers. By making others feel that we care and that they are important to us, we will become known as a powerful presenter.

Work on eliminating filler words and phrases from you daily presentations. I spend a great deal of time listening to National Public Radio, and I am always amazed at how many intelligent people who are interviewed by the hosts use a plethora of filler words — for example, um, ah, ur, you know, whatever, and on and on. When we are speaking in public, we pay special attention to eliminating these words and phrases, but do we avoid them in everyday speaking? And, if we don’t, could we be unaware that we are making these faux pas from the platform? We probably are, so it is good practice to pay attention all of the time. These dreaded words weaken our messages and rob us of our credibility.

Practice brevity, or saying what you have to say in as few words as possible. If you consider your everyday interactions to be opportunities for working on your powerful presentation skills, you will not only become a more polished speaker with pizzazz, you will also strengthen your relationships with the others in your life!

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