From talking to your mom or wife on your cellphone to arranging a meeting with a client at the office, humans spend most of their waking hours communicating. A 1972 study revealed that the average worker spends 50-80% of the day conversing. As a presenter, your audiences may expect you to hold a metaphorical MBA in communication. Ask yourself these questions to determine whether you are a conversational presenter…or not:

1. Do you read many and varied works?

No matter what the topic of your presentation is, a passion for diving into pages of diverse content will serve the everyday presenter well. If you peruse authors and perspectives that you don’t necessarily agree with, you get double the points for expanding your understanding and opening your mind to other viewpoints.

2. Do you break eye contact occasionally during conversation?

Contrary to popular belief, a good conversationalist actually breaks eye contact with their audience rather than hold a steady gaze.

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3. When engaged in a discussion, do you ask open-ended questions?

Questions that require more substantial responses than a simple “yes” or “no” will improve your reputation as a conversational presenter. Instead of asking your audience “Have you travelled recently?” ask “Where have you travelled in the past few years?” You’ll spark much longer and deeper discussion.

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4. Are you an attentive listener?

Many times, the greatest strength a conversationalist has is the ability to not talk at all. Each and every one of us loves to hear ourselves speak. The sound of our own voices is exhilarating. The presenter who doubles as a conversationalist will insert breaks for audience questions and comments.

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5. Do you carry a notepad or other note-taking device with you 24/7?

Having an awareness for the world around you and documenting your experiences are two practices that could improve the quality of your presentation narratives. If you are one of the illustrious note-takers out there, consider yourself well on your way to being conversation king.

6. When describing an issue or experience, do you utilize metaphors?

Being able to connect with your audience on an issue or concept dictates the success of your presentation. For those complex topics, a conversational presenter would devise a visual and textual metaphor to translate their presentation message into a more digestible format.

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The more often you answered “yes” to the questions above, the more conversational of a presenter you likely are. For more information and tips on perfecting your speaking skills, review the resources below:

The End: Building Your Presentation Content to Conclusion

13 Little-Known Secrets of Great Conversationalists

12 Golden Rules of Conversation

The Rule of Reciprocity: How to Give in Your Presentations


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