A performance to remember

Local businesses learn the art of professional presentation with Martin Berry

As any business owner will know, we all have to ‘perform’ to a variety of different audiences. Whether we are pitching to customers or investors, communicating with colleagues and employees, or liaising with suppliers or collaborators, there is a need in the world of business to finesse our public voice. This week, the Ingenuity team hosted over 40 delegates from local companies to do just that.

Led by Martin Berry, Associate Director for Theatre Projects at Nottingham Lakeside Arts, we welcomed delegates from a wide range of businesses to this workshop (part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund) on Performance: the art of professional presentation.

Drawing upon his extensive experience in theatre, Martin’s insights into how to present with confidence, structure and create a meaningful connection with the listener made for a fascinating day.

What we hear and what we see

We started the day with an overview of what our audience hears when we deliver a presentation. Martin guided us through various breathing and relaxation exercises to help us get those nerves under control, plus some vocal and facial warm ups designed to help with articulation.

We then moved on to talk about what our audience sees when we are presenting: what to do with those troublesome hands that you suddenly become all too aware of when standing up in front of a group of people! We talked about use of space, the pros and cons of PowerPoint and even what to wear when presenting, including Eve Poole‘s 9-point principle – the notion of aiming for 9 as the optimum number of notable features of one’s appearance.

As we started to try out our own presentations, initially in pairs, Martin shared some top tips for delivery and content. We explored deliberate pauses, personal anecdotes and how to use lists to engage rather than bore the listener. We then delved into Konstantin Stanislavski’s principle of dividing up our text into key units and attributing a title to each unit that evokes an emotion e.g. “I want to excite my listener”, “I want to intrigue my listener”, “I want to shock my listener”.

Learning through doing

In the afternoon it was time for a few brave volunteers to deliver their presentations in front of the whole group. Armed with advice from the morning’s session, along with a few constructive tips from Martin, it was remarkable how much and how quickly our presentation skills improved.

We left equipped with a toolkit we could apply to our future presentations and some newfound confidence in our own abilities – a fantastic result at the end of a brilliant day.

For more information about Ingenuity workshops like this one, check out our Events page for details of all our forthcoming sessions.


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