Tips to keep a presentation on track

Ever have one of those days when you find yourself talking – but you felt as though your mouth was on auto-pilot? I have. And a number of my clients have confessed lately to having the same sensation.

A client told me about standing up to make a presentation – and feeling as though the mouth was disengaged from the brain. In my client’s case it was a combination of nerves and a lack of preparation.

Thankfully I was able to help the client overcome the nerves by showing a better way of preparing for a presentation.  By teaching the client the TalkitOut Technique, we were able to kill both birds with one stone.

Other clients have talked of different ways in which their words zigged when the brain wanted them to zag. One talked about feeling so comfortable she started to throw in extra material.  Before she knew it, she’d gone off on a tangent and it was hard to get back to her theme. She got anxious. And you can guess what happened to her presentation.

A lot of this has to do with being mentally alert, focused. It’s what the Buddhists call mindfulness, or being awake in the moment. We are a distracted society struggling under the weight of endless busyness. On top of that we are bombarded with useless information. It’s difficult to stay focussed.

There is no magic pill to solve this. It takes discipline to rein in the distracted mind.

  • Start by preparing and writing your speech or talking points using the TalkitOut Technique.
  • Get your thoughts and words out of your mouth before you try writing them down.
  • Speak them out loud. See if they sound as good to your ears as they look to your eyes.

By talking out the words before you write them out, I guarantee you’ll create a script that will reflect your personality and authenticity more closely than any essay you could compose.

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On top of that, TalkitOut has a built-in rehearsal system – so you have a better chance of feeling comfortable and controlled as you deliver your presentation.

Another way of keeping mouth and brain in sync is to concentrate on the audience. Are you holding their attention? Are you engaging them with your stories? Are they leaning forward, eager for more? Or leaning back, looking bored? Deviating from a script  is OK, if it serves a strategic purpose – like re-engaging an audience through a story or anecdote.

So use TalkitOut, and focus on the audience. That will give you a script that’s easy to deliver, and a happy and engaged audience.