Two great fears: Being bored and being boring. Which is worse? By far we fear being boring the most. The fear that people will not be interested in what we have to say is enough to stop many from considering public speaking and seeking out opportunities to make presentations about their travel planning practice. As deeply felt as that concern may be, however, I assure you that it is highly likely you have what it takes to engage your audience. A few key principles, properly applied, will assist you in pulling your listeners into your presentation and involving them in the passion and emotion you generate.
In fact, passion is one of the key factors to any successful presentation. Passion is the energy that fuels our desire to communicate information about travel. The really great news is that most people love to talk about travel. They have a keen interest in the topic and want to know more. An energetic approach to your presentation is absolutely necessary. You do not have to have an “over the top” style to demonstrate your energy levels, but your passion has to be obvious from your vocabulary and body language. Use any nervousness you feel to energize the presentation. Don’t feel glued to a podium. Move about, gesture with your arms and connect with the audience by projecting yourself.
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Be able to communicate the central theme of your presentation in a few short words. Whether you are making a presentation on your own practice or on a destination or supplier product, know what you want to say and be able to say it in 20 words or less. Take the time to hone down the core vision of your presentation to a bite-size statement. But as you formulate your statement, inject language that infuses your vision with energy. When Steve Jobs said he wanted Apple to be “insanely great“, everyone immediately understood his vision and passion. They could feel his energy. If you say “Exercise for the body, travel for the soul” (go ahead, take it, it’s yours) people understand that your vision encompasses more than an airline ticket and 10 countries in 10 days.
Relate to your audience. It is terrific you are fired up and passionate about your topic. The audience, however must understand the benefits to them in order to catch the spark. Sell the experience. Put your listeners in the position of experiencing your service, the trip or the destination. Will they see amazing things? Will they eat foods they have only dreamed about? Will they come back changed?
There is, of course, an art to public speaking. If you intend to put public speaking and presentations into your marketing plan, you will do well to attend as many presentations delivered by others as possible. Watch what works and what does not. The best speakers vary the tone of their voice and will slow down and speed up at points in their delivery to keep the listeners alert. They will use dramatic pauses and will throw out unexpected words to catch the attention of the crowd. Good speakers will command the podium, taking charge of the space they occupy and then projecting into the audience’s space. They will look directly at the audience as though they are talking to individuals, not to a crowd, and will gesture as appropriate, sometimes moving far from their podium to make a point.
Making an engaging presentation takes practice and a willingness to take a chance. But the return on the investment is significant enough to warrant the investment. If you love travel and can communicate that passion – you can give a first rate presentation.