Partners in Performance Blog

Persuasive Presentations: 6 Tips to Be Concise

Do you suffer from rambling in public speaking? If not, I am sure you’ve experienced the pain of a presentation that goes on and on… and on! If you want to give a persuasive presentation be concise.

Unfortunately, even if there are important nuggets to be heard, they’re lost on the audience. Instead of listening to the key points, the audience disengages and begins self-talk: “When is this guy going to quit?!” or, “Get to the point already!”

Rambling is one of the biggest killers of persuasive presentations. By the time the speaker is ready to ask you to do something, you’ve already left the building. At that point, you don’t care.

Yet many speakers (yourself, perhaps?) fall into rambling when they’re nervous, forget their place, feel unsure they’ve been clear, and are not convinced they’ve been persuasive.

Here are a few presentation coaching tips that can nip rambling in the bud for any speaker:

  1. Tell yourself…less is more. Ask yourself “What is the essence of what I want to say with this point?”  Then challenge yourself to say it in 10 words. Give us a few pearls, not the whole necklace. This works to sift out the junk and extract the gold nuggets.
  2. Strive for the extreme. Did I say phrase your message in 10 words? But how is this possible you might ask? If you want to break a pattern and install a new one it works to exaggerate the new pattern. If you don’t, you will only get half-way there and the change will hardly be noticeable. Before long, you’ll be right back to where you started. Instead, overcompensate. Make your point in an extreme form for emphasis. It works to make a more persuasive presentation.
  3. Practice. Better still, record yourself. It makes an incredible difference to hear yourself speaking out loud. It’s so easy to record with our smart phones. Then, use self-coaching. Practicing, self-coaching and rehearsing works!
  4. Enlist the help of a buddy. Ask a colleague on your team to give you a hand signal to give you ‘in the moment’ feedback. And ask for feedback afterwards.  
  5. Use every opportunity to practice. Don’t just work on being more concise in business presentations. Be conscious of being concise every time you speak. Practice when speaking with friends and family. Practice when leaving voice messages on the phone. Practice in your day to day conversations at work.
  6. Don’t be a repeat offender. Make a decision to change. Set your intention to interrupt your rambling pattern and install a new habit of being concise. Being aware of your rambling is only the first step. Awareness precedes choice. But how long have you been aware? Don’t go through life simply being aware. Choose to take action now to correct your rambling. Engage a presentation coach, go to Toastmasters or attend a presentation skills workshop.

Would love to hear from you. Have you caught yourself rambling? What’s your reaction to my tips? Leave a comment.

And where can you get coaching?   My UPFRONT Persuasion workshop, of course. There is one coming up in Toronto on November 12 & 13, 2013. For details call 905-877-5808 or contact me.

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This entry was posted by TanjaParsley on October 21, 2013 in Delivery Skills, Persuasion. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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