Busted! 5 myths on how to be more eloquent during presentations

Getting yourself the most professionally designed PowerPoint presentation and the most awesome content and graphics won’t guarantee the most memorable presentation for your audience. You probably know these are just one side of the coin. The other side of the coin focuses on delivering these eloquently. Delivery will need just as much attention as your PowerPoint and content.

But when you don’t get your facts right about how to be more eloquent, your efforts towards it can just be futile, if not further detrimental for your presentations. Here are some of the common myths on how to be more eloquent when presenting and how to correct these:

Myth #1: Eloquence is using jargon

Don’t assume eloquence means phrasing your words in a way that will make you sound more intelligent, complex or incomprehensible. On the contrary, they only make you appear less than truthful. Use simple everyday language but powerful words. Keep your sentences brief but concise. Instead of intellectualizing everything, your audience will appreciate it if you get them emotionally involved. To help you do this, add enthusiasm into your presentation.

Myth #2: The more you talk, the more eloquent you sound

On the contrary, you ought to think or listen before speaking. Ensure you understand first what your audience is telling you before speaking. When answering questions, pause a moment to organize your thoughts. It’s only when you gather your thoughts can you express your responses using clear and concise language.

Myth # 3: Eloquence is all about verbal communication

Not quite. Nonverbal communication like your tone, gestures, timing and mannerisms can be just as important to be eloquent, if not more. Sometimes, even what you’re NOT saying out loud matters.

Myth #4: Eloquence is born, not made

Even the most seasoned politicians and speakers who seem quite spontaneous prepare speeches in advance.  No one was instantly born with a gifted vocabulary. Everyone had to start from somewhere and nurture the art of being eloquent through practice, apprenticeship and coaching. Record yourself when presenting. You may notice some aspects that fall short of eloquence which you normally don’t notice yourself doing. Read a lot to improve grammar, vocabulary, verb tenses, and expound on your interest or expertise. Master your content really well so you can be passionate and comfortable delivering it. After all, a large part of eloquence is confidence and confidence can only come from knowledge.

Myth #5: Speaking faster makes your more eloquent

While speaking quickly may give you some credibility, speaking too fast can actually compromise your eloquence and instead, make people see through your nervousness. By practicing to speak slower, you also give yourself more time to breathe, relax and gather your thoughts.

Eloquence is not simply articulating your words clearly but expressing your ideas in crisp, precise terms that can easily be understood and remembered by your audience using as little words as possible. What other techniques have you tried to help you become more eloquent when presenting? Let us know through your comments below.