Want to be a better presenter? Then you need to start to S.T.O.P.

Wait, what? Yes, S.T.O.P.

S.T.O.P. is an acronym. It is one of best speaking techniques for establishing connection with an audience and becoming a better presenter.

Coined by Andrew Gilman, here’s how the acronym of S.T.O.P. works. You deliver a S – Single, T – Thought, to O – One, P – Person.

Then you pause and compose your next thought while finding a new person in the audience.

You are not allowed to start delivering the thought until you establish eye contact. Then you deliver that next single thought.

Then you do it again. And again. And again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Why should you start to S.T.O.P? Because S.T.O.P.ing has four amazing benefits:

1. S.T.O.P. eliminates filler words

This may be the biggest benefit for the listener. Filler words (such as uh, um, and, so, like, you know) automatically disappear. According to Susan Ward, “Using excessive fillers is the most irritating speech habit. They distract your listener often to the point that he or she doesn’t hear anything you say.”

2. It allows you time to breathe by slowing you down

Breathing calms your nerves. It allows needed oxygen to your brain. It makes you smarter on your feet. It also allows you stay in the moment.

3. It reinforces eye contact

Eye contact allows your audience the ability to connect with you. The eyes are the window to the soul (Chinese proverb). With eye contact, you are seen as more trusted, you appear more confident, and you won’t read your slides.

4. S.T.O.P. also allows you to monitor your audience’s response

They will feel like you are talking to them. The pauses allow you to create flow and tempo. They also allow the audience to filter what you’ve just said. Our brains can’t effectively multitask. The gaps between thoughts give the listener needed time to process the information.

TIP- Start S.T.O.P.ing by both speaking and listening. Practice it in conversations. Use it when you rehearse your presentation. Then, listen for it. Especially when you have the radio on. The next time you hear an interview on the radio, listen for filler words. Notice the marked difference between the on-air personality and the person being interviewed. 

Great speakers understand a simple truth. The audience wants you to succeed. They want to pay attention. They want you to capture their mind and heart—to be louder than the noise in their own head. They don’t require you to be perfect.

In the words of speaking coach Stephanie Scotti, “It’s not about perfection when presenting; it’s about connection.” If you want to be a great presenter, you need to connect. Connection before content. And if you want to connect, the first thing you need to do is S.T.O.P. 

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Stan Phelps

Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.

Find Stan’s in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops, and Goldfish tank programs at StanPhelps.com.