It is a common fact that many many people are afraid of speaking in public. Sometimes it is the thought of it and sometimes the actually experience of standing there. I have written before about how some people will do anything in their power to avoid it, proving themselves incredibly creative in the so doing!
I am often asked for top tips to encourage, motivate and reassure people who want and need to speak in public. So here are ten top tips:
- People want you to succeed. After all they are giving of their time (willingly or otherwise) so they would rather find your presentation useful at worst, inspiring at best so they don’t have to feel they have wasted their precious time.
- People want you to succeed. (yes I know I have said this in point 1, but it bears repetition!) Most people would much rather it was you up there than them. Honestly. It is easier to sit back and listen than it is to prepare and deliver a presentation.
- Most people want to listen to another human being, warts and all, speak with them rather than a robot speak at them. So if you forget the odd word, if your teeth get in the way, if you falter a little, they are usually ok with this providing (and this is important) you can recover and the design and content show that you respect your audience and want to genuinely support them.
- Unless you are a professional speaker, in business you are the expert who is presenting rather than a speaker per se. In other words, they have come to benefit from your expert status – what you know, what you can share, what you have to teach, your perspective and your opinion. Of course being able to do this competently, confidently and compellingly is key if you want to extend your impact and influence. But you do not need to be a perfect professional speaker to do so.
- You don’t always have to have people like you to respect what you have to say. So many presentations sound the same as presenters churn out the same old same old. Take a tip from Jeremy Clarkson – be prepared to stick your head up above the parapet, have an opinion, be controversial. Not everyone will like you but at least you will stand out and people will notice what you have to say
- Don’t try to say too much. Many presenters associate lots of detailed content with credibility. If you give too much, people remember very little. Cluster your content into two or three chunks. Give an over view. Provide interpretation rather than detail (have a handout/report handy for those who need to pore over the figures later). Less is definitely more.
- Work out what the message is first before you start designing slides or handouts. What is it that you want your audience to do, know or feel after your presentations?
- Practice makes perfect. Waiting until it is perfect before saying your presentation out loud or offering to speak is procrastination at best. The only way to get better and the only way to deliver effectively is to present more often. Rehearsal, practice and the Real Thing…this builds up the skills, the confidence and the expertise.
- Think about what the audience needs to hear rather than what you have to say. Too many presentations are really only lists of information the speaker has decided to tell the audience. Break the mould – think of questions the audience need to have answered and build your presentations around that.
- Keep a sensible perspective! At the end of the day it is unlikely that anyone will die as a result of your presentations going wrong – even you! If it doesn’t all go to plan, it is not the end of the world. Pick yourself up, dust your self down and learn how to do it better next time!
If you would like to know more about how Catherine can help you with your presentations, then call on 07946604859 or email on Catherine@catherinesandland.com. And for a FREE report on a Five Star System for Presenting, click here.