Practice, practice, practice. We’ve heard it a million times and we will continue to. If you want to be good at something — to nail it — you have to work at it. However, when it comes to presentations, there will be times when you have practiced too much. When people have overly memorized a speech, or given it too many times, it can become robotic and lose the life it once had. It becomes like a song you hear on the radio, where every breath, pause and beat is preplanned. The audience won’t feel the need to listen if they can sense you are on autopilot.
In order to breathe life back into your presentation, you need to intentionally break up the pattern. Not only will it disrupt the routine you have settled into, but you might actually find a new and better way of saying a section of your presentation.
Here are five ways you can break up the routine:
Change up the pace on purpose. Say the entire thing as fast as you can. Or, say it as slow as you can. Then, speed up and slow down throughout the talk.
Switch the pitches you are using. Say the speech like you are going on a vocal rollercoaster. You can go from a high voice, to low voice, to medium and back again.
3. Movie Genres
Instead of giving your presentation in the normal professional style, imagine you are in a movie. You can pretend you are are in a western, horror film, comedy, musical, James Bond film, etc.
Change the volume. Start by saying your speech in a whisper and then gradually increase your volume as if you were telling it to someone across the parking lot.
We go into “presenter mode” when we rehearse. We settle into our professional persona as we see ourselves on a stage or in a conference room. To disrupt this pattern, imagine you are in a different environment. You can be underwater, at a concert or talking to kindergarteners. Imagine you are giving this speech in a different space.
With all of these techniques, your pitch, pace, intonation, key words and pauses will change. By doing your presentation wrong on purpose, you are giving yourself the freedom to play around again. You are letting yourself experience this presentation in a new and fun way. Whenever you have a routine, you can get bored with the predicability and start to tune out. By giving your presentation variety again, you are inviting spontaneity back in. This way you can reestablish your connection with the message and bring your presentation back to life.
Bri McWhorter is the Founder and CEO of Activate to Captivate.