BIG Presentation Secret No.7: Deliver with confidence and clarity


So what’s this week’s secret?

This week’s secret is absolute clarity when delivering our BIG Presentations. Just like our points needed to be clear by using PIES, our delivery needs to be clear and confident too!

As the speakers delivering our BIG Presentations, we are the transmitter of our BIG Presentation message to our audience.

If we don’t transmit the message correctly in a way our audience believes and engages with, then our BIG Presentation message won’t be received.

We need to deliver our message clearly and with confidence.

What is clear, confident delivery?

Clear delivery, at its simplest, is delivery that allows our audience to receive, believe and understand our message. If they do all of these things, we have clearly delivered our message.

Confident delivery is in the eye of the beholder. Often, a speaker will comment to others about how unconfident they felt when speaking. However, it is the audience, and their perception of our confidence, that is the true measure.

Many of the greatest speakers in history have been nervous before their speeches, but appeared confident in the eyes of their audience.

Therefore, confident delivery is simply delivery that convinces our audience that we are positive and that we believe in the message that we are passing on.

So how do we use this secret?

What tools do we have to deliver our BIG Presentation message?

Every part of our body that is visible and audible to our audience is a tool to deliver our BIG Presentation message to our audience.

To help give us focus for this lesson, we are going to define our key ‘weapons of choice’ for delivery as:

  • Voice
  • Face and eyes
  • Arms
  • Legs

How can we use these tools?

Each of these parts of our body can be used in a different way to add emphasis to elements of our BIG Presentation. Using our body to emphasize our message automatically makes our audience see us as confident, as a common trait of the nervous speaker is to keep all body movement to a minimum (why do you think they call it ‘freezing’ on stage?!).

There are whole books and day-long training sessions on using your body when delivering a BIG presentation. I’ve chosen to make this lesson as effective as possible in a short space of time and so have focused on just the most important thing you need to know about each of our available body parts for your BIG Presentation below. This should give you the biggest improvement in the shortest possible time!

Voice – be heard. During your rehearsals, check that your volume is loud enough to be heard at the back of the room. Your audience can’t get your message if they can’t hear it!

Face – smile! Smiling automatically adds intonation (and that human touch!) to your voice. Don’t believe it? Try saying the following line, first with no smile, then again whilst smiling:

“Today is a day you will never forget…”

Sounded like a threat from a gangster movie the first time, right? I bet it sounded much warmer the second time, which is good, as it’s actually a line from a wedding reading!

Eyes – make eye contact. It sounds so simple, but eye contact is the first thing to go when we’re nervous. Pick three chairs around the room (one left, one right, one centre) and rehearse looking at each of them as you deliver your BIG Presentation. That way, when your nerves kick in on the big day, your autopilot will still have you looking around at all of your audience!

Arms – open them! Opening your arms to the audience is not only a naturally inclusive gesture, but it makes you look incredibly confident too! Nervous speakers clasp their hands – confident speakers are bold enough to open their arms to their audience as they deliver that killer first line. Be the confident speaker.

Legs – get moving! The nervous speaker stands rooted to the spot and doesn’t move. Confident speakers move about the stage. Plan a few steps across your stage as part of your BIG Presentation. It will help to channel any nervous energy you have into movement and will make you appear more confident.

How do we apply this to our BIG Presentation?

We can’t use all of our body all of the time during our BIG Presentations, or else we would resemble something akin to the hokey-kokey!

The trick is to run through your BIG Presentation and identify individual lines or areas that would benefit from being emphasised by your body. Use the guidelines below for a steer on where to incorporate your face, eyes, arms and legs in your BIG Presentation.

Face – great for emphasising extreme emotions – smiles versus serious expressions versus looks of shock and surprise!

Eyes – perfect for making a point relevant to a specific audience member, and for making points with conviction too – look your audience in the eye as you say it.

Arms – use your arms for making general, inclusive points (arms wide open) and your hands for specific points (counting a list of three points or clenching fist on key point)

Legs – use your position on the stage to symbolise time passing (move from left to right as you describe past events versus future events) or two sides of an argument.

Further reading


Next week’s secret…

Our next secret is all about saying nothing. It’s about using the power of silence when we deliver our BIG Presentation.

Before then, have a think about some key BIG Presentation lines that you’ve delivered in the past and try saying them at different speeds and with random pauses throughout.

How do those lines sound at different speeds and with varying pauses? Come prepared with your thoughts for our next BIG Presentation lesson!