Becoming a better presenter and public speaker takes time and effort, but did you know that your ever-present smartphone is a powerful tool to help you improve your speaking skills? In this article, I want to show you how to leverage the power of these ubiquitous devices to develop your speaking skills.
1) Recording your presentations
Smart presenters understand the power of reviewing their speeches to learn what they did well and what can be improved. For example, today’s mobile devices have evolved into compact yet sophisticated audio and video recording tools, making them perfect for recording speeches for review purposes. However, relying on our memory isn’t ideal.
How well can you remember what you said, and how you said it, minutes after a speech, let alone days later? As a result of this human frailty, many presenters are unaware of what they say or do and how it helps or hinders the effectiveness of their speeches. However, having the possibility to review an audio or video recording of your speech can accelerate your ability to learn and improve massively.
Audio recording is simple and has three obvious applications
a) Eliminating bad verbal habits such as umms errs and “filler words”.
b) Checking your speaking speed
c) Checking your speech clarity, pronunciation and vocal variety
Tip – you can time your speech and, then calculate your average speaking speed if you know how many words were in your script.
Video recording makes you more aware of the visual aspects of your delivery style
A video recorded on a smartphone is a handy tool for fine-tuning the non-verbal aspects of your presentation delivery such as…
a) Use of hand gestures
b) How you move around the speaking area
c) Your posture and how it impacts on your credibility
d) How you use notes and how that affects eye contact
- Use a voice recorder app on your phone to make audio recordings of your presentations for later review
- Ask a friend or colleague to use their smartphone to record part or all of your presentation
2) Learn by watching videos of excellent speakers on your phone
Thanks to sites like YouTube and Ted Talks, it’s never been easier to listen to or watch audio and video recordings of great speakers.
Accelerate your learning by having a focus question in your mind before watching
a) What makes this person an excellent presenter role model?
b) What does the speaker do that is different from the speakers I hear at work?
c) How do they use their voice to gain attention and hold interest
d) How do they use their body language to engage their audience and reinforce their messages
If you are serious about learning how to become a better presenter or speaker, I recommend that you download the TED app for Android or iOS. It gives you instant access to a wealth of free recordings featuring some great speakers. My current personal favourites include Benjamin Zander, Malcolm Gladwell, Jill Bolte Taylor and Sir Ken Robinson.
3) Use your phone to time your talks
Speaking to time is a necessary discipline that is always appreciated by audiences and meeting organisers. Audience members are easily bored, and exceeding your allotted time is usually seen as being disrespectful to the other people in the room. Most mobile devices have a stopwatch facility built in, and there are a wealth of countdown timer apps available specifically designed for speakers.
4) Other relevant smartphone apps?
The above uses are the most universally applicable ways in which smartphone technology can help budding presenters improve. However, there are how many more ways that these devices can help you become a better speaker.
a) Teleprompter apps for Android and iOS.
Television presenters and Politicians often rely on Teleprompter technology to help them keep on track without having to memorise their speeches. Today, everyone can make access this technology for little or no cost via their phone or tablet. There are a wealth of Teleprompter and Autocue apps available for Android and iOS. Just check out the iTunes app store or the Google Play store.
One such app that deserves a special mention is Promptsmart. Th1s powerful yet affordable appt differs from all the other teleprompter apps I have tried so far because:
a) It includes the ability to set a specific words-per-minute reading speed.
b) It has a voice track feature which automatically scrolls the screen text to match your natural speaking speed.
b) Presentation software remote control apps.
I am a great fan of anything that will free the speaker from their laptop and allow them to move around the room to engage with their audience. Several smartphone apps now claim to allow you to control your slides wirelessly via Bluetooth.
I remain unconvinced and prefer a simple, dedicated, wireless remote control like the Kensington Presenter Remote.
c) Mind Mapping Tools.
I have been a long time fan of mind mapping and have used it both to develop presentations and as my speech notes. There are numerous free and paid Mind mapping apps available for mobile devices. My personal favourites are SimpleMind and iMindMap
d) Read books about presentation skills on your phone.
The Amazon Kindle app is available free for Android and iOS devices and gives you 24/7 access to a massive choice of books about presenting and public speaking. My presentation skills book “The Presenters Edge” is available on the Kindle store around the world.
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