Make your presentation flow like poetry
By Kendall Martin
Being a great writer doesn’t guarantee that someone is a great speaker, but one poet wowed me in a live performance several years ago. Acclaimed poet, author, activist and teacher Nikki Giovanni gave an electrifying performance combining prose and poetry.
Weaving social commentary about civil rights, jazz and individuality with pieces of her poetry, Giovanni gave an inspirational presentation using the following:
- Correct voice. A great speaker will adapt to the size of the room and audience. Giovanni adjusted her projection and inflection to deliver key points and poems.
- Humility. Your audience does not expect perfection. They have come to see you speak because they want to take away something of value. Giovanni performed as comfortably as if she was having a personal conversation with the audience.
- Transitions. Limit topics to a few so that you can embellish your points with stories or anecdotes. Rather than introducing each poem as a break in the speech, Giovanni performed her poetry as a part of the speech. Example: While on the topic of civil rights, she flowed from the last word of her prose directly into a poem about the impact of the movement on her life.
- Knowledge. Speak about what you know best. Giovanni’s message on persevering and overcoming was grounded in her experiences as a civil rights activist.
- Confidence. Your audience will feel if you are uncomfortable or unsure of your speech. Giovanni did not cater to what the audience may have wanted to hear. She presented fresh, clear ideas and backed up her points.
Even if you aren’t a wordsmith like Giovanni, you can capture the audience’s attention and keep it for the duration of your presentation with those attributes.
Last month’s poll results:
In August we asked “What’s the largest group you’ve ever presented in front of?”
While one person had spoken before an audience of 2,000, the most frequent response was more than 100, with 67% of the votes.
If you’ve ever stood in front of a crowd and wondered to yourself “Am I getting through to these people?” sign up now for the accredited two-day American Speaker Training Camp—a no-risk, money-back guaranteed way to unlock the persuasive speaker in you.
This exciting live event is coming soon to Orlando, Fla.; Washington, D.C. and Anaheim, Calif. Register today.
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Delivered each month, American Speaker Forum offers you public-speaking advice and tips for wowing your audience during your next presentation. This resource also offers you a way to ask for feedback on your next speaking engagement and to share your own experience with your colleagues.