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3 surprisingly easy ways to improve your next presentation

Campbell Such | Aug. 5, 2015
These little known but practical steps can work whether you are presenting to a single person or a group.


1. A better way to point

How did you feel the last time someone pointed their finger at you? Can you remember what your response was?

Well for most people it's a negative one. Consciously, or not, you tend to feel negative about the person who's pointing the finger. You become more resistant to being influenced and are less likely to comply with any request.

The reason is that for most of us, it evokes memories (and feelings of those memories) of someone:

" Accusing us of something or telling us off ("Don't you ever do that again!")

" Abusing us for some reason ("You lousy, dirty piece of.......")

" Telling us what to do ("I want you to go to your room right now!")

" Pointing out one (or more) of our faults ("Can't you see how useless you are!)

So whenever someone points their finger at you, it 'feels' uncomfortable and subconsciously you resist, react negatively or withdraw.

Is it any different when you're the one up in front of people presenting? No it isn't. The audience feels the same way when you point a finger at them -- for any reason. Whether you are making a point or pointing out something or someone?

In one particular experiment 72 percent of the attendees rated the speaker that pointed as aggressive and rude. And it also impacted their recall of the material in the presentation.

And you don't have to be on a stage presenting; it's the same with a small group, in a meeting or one-on-one.

What's the right way to point?

A tiny change that makes a big difference.

Any time you would normally point, take your thumb and index finger and touch them together.

The other three fingers open, or curled into your palm like they would be if you were pointing with one finger.

Now point with your thumb and index finger.

That's all you have to do.

The research shows that presenters who do this are perceived as focused and thoughtful.

And the automatic negative association does not occur. It just melts away and you are not tarnished with inducing 'uncomfortable feelings' in the audience.

The other alternative is to use a two-finger point. This is pointing using your index and middle fingers touching side by side. It's not nearly as good but much better than pointing with one finger.

Try experimenting with the reactions you get between pointing with a finger and pointing with your thumb and index finger together. Watch closely for the reaction, or lack of reaction. You're likely to see a noticeable difference.

2. What the audience will remember


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