Partners in Performance Blog

Sales Presentations Coming? Use Your Voice to Hold Attention

Power of PauseWhat do you do to prepare for your business or sales presentations? Are you like so many people who work hard on preparing the content and slides for their presentation but pay little attention to how they will deliver their message?

It’s one thing knowing WHAT you want to say but it’s entirely different knowing HOW to communicate your message so that you’re compelling and persuasive during sales presentations. Your content can be filled with great information but if your delivery is weak or distracting, it’s hard to really hear what you’re trying to say.

There are many delivery skills to weave into your sales presentations including body language – where to stand, how to move, how to gesture with hands and arms and how to connect with your audience through effective eye contact. They should all be used to your great advantage.

One of the most powerful delivery skills to hone is your voice. Your voice is your instrument. Whether you’re presenting face-to-face or virtually, your voice carries your message. And it’s often underused for impact.

Don’t make these common presentation mistakes when delivering:

  • Racing through your presentation because all you really want to do is get it over with.
  • Using a monotone voice with little vocal variety or low energy – boring, boring, boring!
  • Using  filler words: ok, umm, ahh… basically, you know, like, they are kinda distracting, you know what I mean?

How to Stamp Out Verbal Viruses in Your Sales Presentations

The one tip that can have the biggest impact on your delivery is to PAUSE, PAUSE, PAUSE. Why is the pause so powerful?

  1. Stamp Out Filler Words: The easiest way to stamp out filler words is to replace them. And the best thing to replace them with is a pause. Whenever you catch yourself using a filler word, simply stop talking and pause. It works like a charm.
  2. Engage or Re-engage Your Audience: When you practice pausing you will get more and more comfortable with the gap. And you will notice something very interesting. Your audience will be more engaged. Pausing is a powerful way to capture and hold their interest.  As quoted by Li Ang, “Many a pair of curious ears has been lured by that well-timed pause.”
  3.  Collect Thoughts: If you have a tendency to race, you aren’t giving yourself time to collect your thoughts. And even more importantly, you aren’t giving your audience time to reflect on what you are saying. Instead of ramming your points in one after the other, pause. Your audience will love you for it.

Studies show that you can hold a pause for up to four seconds during sales presentations and it seems totally natural to the audience.

I was inspired by this recent blog post by marketing expert Seth Godin

“It is a mark from the composer to the conductor: Hold the pause as long as you like.

When we finally have the attention of an audience, our instinct is to rush. Attention is precious, please don’t stare, okay, I’m hurrying, there, I’m done.

It doesn’t have to work that way.

If you’ve got something to say, say it. Slowly. With effect. The audience isn’t going anywhere. At least not the people you care about.

No, don’t waste their time. Yes, handle your message with the respect it deserves.

If you have to rush to say it, it might not be worth saying.”

From now on, as you listen to great presenters, clergy or politicians, pay attention to not only what they say and how they say it but when they say nothing at all.

Start practicing your pauses today. Before long you’ll discover the power of the pause and you’ll be amazed with the impact on your confidence, poise and the audience’s attention.

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This entry was posted by TanjaParsley on January 10, 2013 in Delivery Skills, Persuasion, Presentation Skills. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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