I was privileged and honoured to be a facilitator as part of the RubyStar team at The Entrepreneurial Festival run by UKti this month. As well as supporting over 175 young entrepreneurs over three days research and develop their business ideas to pitch to judges, there was a full programme of events, expert panels, key note presentations and mentoring taking place to help these budding entrepreneurs on their path to establishing the next generation of businesses.
The panels in particular were excellent with experts and entrepreneurs sharing their experiences and advice. One thing that particularly struck me about two of the panelists though was the way they introduced themselves. One said ‘ I’ve not prepared because I am too busy running a business’. The other said as his opening gambit, ‘ I am not a presenter so I thought I would just wing it’. Now I believe both these presenters were a bit disingenuous as the content of what they said and the way they said suggested that they had in fact thought carefully about their message and had said it before to different audiences (i.e. practiced it). But their actual words gave me pause for thought.
Firstly maybe it is just me but I thought it sounded rude and discourteous to the audience to say that no preparation had taken place. Audiences need to believe the speaker is credible and trustworthy and part of that is establishing a mutual respect. If people are giving of their time to listen to us, and keep quiet themselves, then we should show them some respect by preparing thoughtfully.
Secondly there is an element of truth of course that most business entrepreneurs are not presenters. They are entrepreneurs. And indeed most speakers in the business community are not presenters. They are experts who can share what they know and influence others through their ability to present. This distinction is an important one. Most of my clients, not all, do not wish to be presenters. They want to be able to speak supremely confidently, clearly and compellingly to staff, colleagues, clients and potential clients. And this helps them persuade, influence and make a difference. They recognize that speaking in public and delivering presentations is a powerful and effective way of doing this.
Thirdly there are lots of us who never have the time we would ideally like to prepare for a presentation. But there are some simple tools that can be learned that mean we don’t have to wing it entirely. The Pathway Planner for example that I use with my clients mean that even if the words might change on the day, the flow, logic and sense of the presentation can be easily remembered and delivered catapulting a presentation from ok to inspirational.
So, what were the two presentations i mentioned like? Well, they were excellent. Different in style and approach. But spoken directly, from the heart and generously. Could they have been better? Of course- most can but what made them effective in the end was the sense of clarity about their business that came over loud and clear from both speakers. Clarity, practice and authenticity. Just cut out the self depreciating comments at the beginning especially when they are not true,
If you would like to know more about how to speak early and confidently in public, then check out the website or call Catherine on 07946604859