I often present at business events and can honestly say that I enjoy the experience. I know I am in the minority – and that I didn’t always feel this way!
What reminded me of this recently was when a member of the audience I was presenting to commented on how daunting it must have been that there were other attendees in the same field as me – business coaching and training. Interestingly the inference is that those others are likely to be super-critical. (I choose to believe that they’re not.) However, I know that this could, if I allowed it, sabotage my confidence.
So what ‘tricks’ do I use to bolster my confidence and enjoy the experience. (It is possible, honestly!)
Believe that what you have to say is of particular value.
You’re there for a good reason. You have particular knowledge or insights that others are interested in. Until you speak, those people haven’t heard what you’ve got to say, (unless you’re Melania Trump, in which case they will have heard exactly what you are about to say several years earlier in a speech by Michelle Obama!)
Prepare with that specific audience in mind.
If they are experts in the same field as you think about the unique angle you can bring – research, your experience, case studies and insights from your own thinking which have been borne out in reality.
Don’t be afraid to include references to the other experts in the room, especially if it helps to make your message clearer. For example, ‘Richard here produces data which shows the yawning gap in influencing skills amongst the 18 – 24 year olds. We have used this to design training which targets the particular challenges of this group.’ (This is just an example not BBC News!)
Deliver in your unique style – others will find that difficult to copy.
The combination of your enthusiasm, your stories, your humour, your sincerity, your ability to involve an audience and handle questions will be difficult to replicate in its entirety
Structure your presentation so that both you and the audience can easily follow the trail.
A well structured presentation is a combination of drama and punctuation. As in a good play the story has a beginning, middle and end. Like the curtain going up you need to capture the audience’s attention and create interest and curiosity. There are typically a few strands to the story – and you can make these as lean or as rich are you like. Towards the end all of these strands come together and there’s the finale. Without full stops, commas, capitals and new paragraphs the words would merge into one long list.
And remember – people, generally, don’t want you to fail. Trust me!
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