Surviving a Presentation, the non verbal way
by Tom Maguire
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One of the fundamental techniques of a
fascinating speaker is their command of what they are saying and also how they
are saying it. They know their content so well that they are able to devote part
of their attention to the process of communicating it. That process is non
verbal. The good news is that if you have a good grasp of what you want to say
then you too can learn to present with excellence.
Let’s take the introduction. Your content
here is to tell the audience what your outcomes are, what you want them to learn
from this session. You have two choices : say it to them or tell them and
underline the message with non verbals. The second option will reach more people
in a more powerful way.
achieve this you think of your three principal outcomes for the listeners, for
example : open mindedness, support, commitment. Then you make up a short
metaphorical story which includes these words. You might say: “As I stepped
out of the hotel hallway into the sunny street this morning and made my way here
I reminded myself to keep an open mind on what I had to say. I noticed
the architecture of this beautiful city, especially how the elegant pillars gave
support to the house entrances adding a classical touch to the whole
street. As I got to this venue I felt energised and more committed then
ever to your learning today.”
As you pronounce each of your outcome words, pause and assign them to the audience by briefly stretching out your arms towards them, palms up. You have attributed to them the characteristics you want them to have at the end of the session, before you even begin. This will ensure that they know, unconsciously, why they are here that day. The seed has been planted. It is now up to you to continue to explicit your outcomes and show how you want them to work.
talk will probably be divided into different sections, each one flexibly related
to the other in some way. Your next challenges are :
to keep the information flowing within each section
separate the different sections in the listeners’ mind.
Let’s see first how to stack the information
so that it is connected up in the listener’s mind. This is where you can begin
to mesmerise the members of your audience.
is recommendable to have some visual support for your presentation, whether it
be power point slides, OHP transparencies or a whiteboard. This also provides
you with three locations: yourself, the participants and the visuals. You have
probably pointed to yourself in your self-introduction, you have signalled to
the audience in your positive assignments of outcomes above and now you
concentrate on the content, illustrated in the visual aids.
join your contents together within one section by using a pausing sequence each
time you finish one point of information. The full sequence is:
you used this very example and wanted to draw attention to joining content you
talking and remain still for a breath,
“Pause” then point to the word,
briefly, remaining still,
“Take a breath” then point to the phrase,
and remain still,
“Speak” and point to that word,
again, remain still,
* say “Move” and indicate the word.
further refinement is your choice of whether the information will be received as
highly credible or more user friendly. To make the content top down credible,
point directly to the word and keep your hand still. To make the information
more user friendly bounce your hand from one word to the other when indicating
example is when you have two big chunks of information that you want to seal
together in the mind’s eye of your listeners. The procedure is the same:
your audience that productivity is up by 20%
to the graph showing this figure
“This is how we get bonuses.”
to the chart.
are other moments during your speech, however, that you want to separate
contents in your listeners’ understanding. This is particularly true at points
where you move from one main idea to another.
that you have presented the idea in the second part of this article, joining
content, and you know want to move on to discussing how to separate content. You
would proceed as follows:
to the content section on your visuals
short you reverse what you did when joining information together. This time you
move then speak. This breaks the localisation anchor of the content and has the
participant attach the new information to a new place, thus separating the two
pieces of subject matter.
may find that when you use the separating pattern you will get audience
participation in the form of questions. This is a sign that you are using the
non verbals well. Use this opportunity to clear up any doubts about the previous
section before mesmerising them during the next one.
Tom Maguire has a BA (English), M-ès-Lettres (French) and Philology degree (Spain). He has 28 years experience in TEFL in France and Spain. At present he teaches EFL in a Spanish State high school near Barcelona and is participating in a pioneering website () to give academic support to students, teachers and parents . He is interested in using NLP to enhance Learning to Learn strategies. He is a Master Practitioner in NLP and manages e-groups for those interested in NLP in Education and S.E.A.L. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.xtec.es/~jmaguire