There are many people I have spoken to who HATE giving presentations and will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid putting themselves in a situation where they might have to stand up and speak out to a group.

Even those who have no choice but to present will often say it is the most nerve-wracking experience and will try to minimise these situations.

At the same time, people in business want to do some, if not all, the following:

Make their mark,

Have an influence,

Create change,

Lead others

Sell and Pitch for business

At some point, they will have to face the fear and speak to groups.

I would go so far as to say that it is an ESSENTIAL SKILL for everyone who wants to shape their destiny, contribute to their community and grow their organisations to know how to present powerfully and persuasively.

Of course, presenting means different things to different people.

It can range from a sixty-second networker introduction to a day’s training. From a board meeting to a sales presentation to a client. From a motivational speech to a team briefing. From a video for your website to a conference. In all these cases, knowing WHAT to say and HOW to say it is VITAL.

Paula is a solicitor.  She hates those dreaded 60-second introductions!  She attends networking events regularly, as referrals and recommendations are a key way of getting new business.  She is hugely aware that if she tells people what she does, it will sound like all the other solicitors out there.  She won’t stand out.  She knows that when she talks about her business, she needs to show HOW and Why she does what she does the way she does it.  Doing this well means that people get to know her, like her and trust her.  The referrals will follow.

Matthew is a man on a mission.  He wants to turn the world upside down.  He wants to start a revolution! He is also an introvert who would rather talk one to one than in front of an audience. Speaking up for him means that more people will connect with the essence of his mission, will share his vision and will take action.  He can’t change the world on his own but he can if he can attract likeminded people who can rise up together. *true story – watch out!

Sandra has a story that she knows can help others.  She knows that being able to express this story in a powerful way, concisely, has the potential to make a real difference to others. She is not a public speaker.  She doesn’t want to be a professional speaker.  She knows that speaking to audiences will allow her to reach far more people than if she talks one to one.

So here are three good reasons why you need to be great at this:

Having a Voice

If you can’t get your voice heard, then you become subject to things happening to you.  When you are heard, you can have more control over making things happen.

Standing Out

Even if your voice is heard, it has to stand out from everyone else’s. The world we work and live in is a noisy one. And we all have short attention spans. You must get people’s attention, keep it and influence their decision-making and behaviour. Business presentations, in particular, tend to be formulaic and dull. Yours need to stand out, make an impact, be memorable and be influential.

Leverage Time and Influence

Speaking to groups (as opposed to speaking to everyone individually) is a smart way of leveraging your time. Imagine being able to gather your potential clients (or advocates) in one place and deliver your compelling, clear and confident message once…with all the demands on our time, this marketing strategy for raising your profile and your ‘go-to’ status makes sense.

So, what will you do to go from thinking about being a great speaker to being a great speaker? I would love to hear from you, so feel free to add your comments below.