In Presentations, focus on “You”
Here are a a couple of tips on presenting from a radio announcer’s point-of-view.
Who does a radio announcer speak to? This is a trick question. The answer is a singular “YOU” – good radio announcers don’t say
“Hello to all you listeners out there” , they say something like;
“Hello, how are you today?”
Their audience is someone like
• the person in the car wanting traffic information and news,
• someone at home listening to the radio for companionship, or
• someone filling a silence while working
But each is an individual who needs to be treated as the only person listening out there. We’re lucky with our language in that “YOU” is both singular and plural, so when you use it in a presentation, individuals feel as though you are addressing them directly. Use this to your advantage to create inclusion.
The rule is very little “I’
Not much more “we” (because “We” can mean “you and me” or “me and someone else”)
Lots of “YOU”
UM, AHH and ERRR
There is a school of thought the we use um, ahh and err as verbal placeholders so that we don’t lose our turn in the conversation. Irrespective, if you use it too much in a presentation it becomes very distracting to the audience. I remember a lecturer from my Army days who had this bad habit. Most of the class spent the period counting the verbal pauses and didn’t really take anything in.
One technique is to focus on what you are saying and when the temptation comes to use the placeholder, breathe in, rather than out. You are not then able to vocalise the words.
Another technique is to actively listen to what you are saying. Most people don’t, but it tends to make your speech slower and more deliberate. Not a bad thing for the audience.