Being purposeful is immensely powerful in presentations.The more purposeful you are as a speaker — in your gestures, visuals, movement, and organization of your thoughts — the more powerful you are and, an extra bonus, the less nervous you’ll be.
When you’re purposeful — when you have something deliberate and intentional to do, a reason for doing it — then this purpose is going to help you be less focused on yourself and your anxiety.
Here are some examples of having purpose in your presentation:
Nonverbals: When you have a prop to demonstrate, a slide to step back and refer to, a physical description to make with your hands, some deliberate steps to take from the screen to the lectern, these are all purposeful. It’s purposeful when you look at audience members as if you’re talking directly to them. And when you minimize the uhs and ums, it’s getting rid of those fillers that serve no purpose. Can you envision what a confident, engaging appearance all this would give you?
Content: When you’re clearly going somewhere with your points — they’re logically arranged, not rambling thoughts, and they’re set up with a road map (where you tell the audience where you’re going with your talk) — this kind of purposeful organization is easier for the audience to follow and gives you an organized, put-together air of confidence and ease.
Visuals: When you rigorously assess every PowerPoint slide in your presentation by applying the “UR” rule – does it help the audience Understand or Remember anything – then your visuals will have a purpose. And if a slide has no purpose – because it’s way too busy, or it’s an uninformative title slide, or it has non-relevant clip art – then the presentation is better served with a black slide.
Give yourself a reason for everything you do and say in your presentations, and you’ll find that sense of purpose will give you more stand out poise and power.