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Presenting with Impact: Delivery Skills Part 1

blog Mar 05, 2019

When it comes to presenting, your words matter, but how you deliver them matters more.

What separates good from exceptional speakers is quite simple. It’s all in their message delivery.

As the youngest of 6 kids, whenever I was in trouble I’d hear my mom cycle through 5 other names (and sometimes the animals too) before getting to mine. And when she did, I knew I was done for… just from the way she said my name.

I’m sure you remember that tone well.

It’s a lesson from our childhood that is commonly used now in our daily lives: it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

When explaining this concept to others, one of my favorite videos to showcase is this State Farm commercial from 2016. In 30 seconds, it shows us just how true this saying is.

 

Same Script. Two completely different storylines.

When it comes to communication, what you say matters, but how you say it matters even more.

This was shown to be true through research done in the 1970s by Professor Albert Mehrabian, of University of California. He is best known for his study on verbal and nonverbal communication, now often referred to as the 7%-38%-55% rule.

Mehrabian Communication Model
Professor Albert Mehrabian’s Communication model

When it comes to communication (particularly those that involve feelings or emotions) only 7% of our message is from the actual words we use. The rest comes from how we say those words (intonation) at 38%, and our nonverbals (body language) at 55%.

Even when we aren’t speaking, we’re communicating. And as a presenter, understanding this and owning every single part of your communication is crucial.

So what does this mean for you and your next presentation?

I bet you are a little like me. You spend the bulk of your preparation time developing the content you want to deliver. Whether its creating a mind map or an outline, maybe you write a script for yourself to practice from, maybe you jump straight to it and create a power point. Regardless, I bet you spend more time creating the content than practicing HOW you’ll deliver your message. 

But remember, communication is beyond words you use. To make sure that message comes across as you intend you have to practice HOW you deliver your content.

And you don’t have to wait until you have another presentation to practice this. Pay attention to how you communicate in every day conversation (and notice this on others too). Below are four particular areas to pay attention to. I call it the Delivery Core Four.

Delivery Core Four

  1. IntonationIs there warmth or empathy where there should be? There’s a quite a few ways to say “I’m so glad I bumped into you today.” Be mindful of your pace, pitch, inflection, and volume.
  2. Facial Expressions. We all know the expression RBF (or as I like to call it, resting-not-so-nice-person-face). Similar to intonation, you must be aware of what message your facial expressions send others.
  3. Hand gestures & postureHow you move your hands (or not) speak volumes. It either adds to your message or it can be seriously distracting. And crossing your arms or hands? That’s not the solution. You must get comfortable with your limbs and use them naturally.
  4. Movement. By this I mean movement with your feet. Do you stand in one place, rock back and forth or pace when you speak? Each of these send a message– good, bad or indifferent. Movement should be intentional and can create a stronger connection with your audience.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll dive deeper into the Delivery Core Four and share with you some tips and strategies that you can practice to make sure that your overall message matches your intention.

Let’s talk! Which of the Delivery Core Four are you best at now? And what’s one area that you want to focus on developing?

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