Updated: Oct 27
Remember that university lecture with the world famous researcher, but his voice, his voice just droned on and on and on….and your brain would drift even as you tried not to.
That’s normal. No matter how smart we are, no matter how much we know, if we deliver in monotone, our audience won’t be able to pay attention.
2 exercises that will help you get there:
It’s a 2 step process. The first transforms written text to be more conversational. The second helps you pause so your audience has time to process. 👇
☝ --highlight the written script, aiming to drop about 20-30%. The goal is to make sentences shorter and a bit choppier.
✌ --As you deliver it, relax and take your time.
Each new line is a micropause, each skipped line is a significant pause.
25% less text, the same amount of time to deliver it.
The result shifts from dense, long sentences to short, conversational prose. It gives the audience time to think, process, and reflect. It feels like a conversation, not a lecture. And this illusion of conversation will mean a more engaged audience.
Advanced Tip: An alternative is to record rather then write your script:
1. Turn on the dictation function in Word and record yourself speaking the presentation.
2. Do this exercise 3 times and print each version.
3. Take the best parts from each.
The problem is that you are trying to sound what you think of as professional, and that attempt is making you monotone.
We have to learn how to move beyond that space.
The Gif here shows you how:
The goal is not about acting, it’s about being a bit more human. Let us hear how you feel.
Use this picture as a reminder of the possibilities.
Advanced tip: Adjust to the event type: at most academic conferences aim to spend 80% of the time in the middle. Presenting beyond academia you can spend up to 80% of the time high or low.
Tilt your script to be more conversational and you let audiences hear a bit about how you feel. These shifts will make you more successful because your audience will be more engaged.
If you found this helpful, connect with me on LinkedIn. I share tips, videos, and stories to help researchers decrease their anxiety and increase their impact. Come join my mission to change how researchers present.
PS Those Gifs are done in PowerPoint with a function called morphing. If you’re not using it you should be. I teach that too😊