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March 1, 2017
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May 1, 2017

When speaking isn’t so easy

On a number of occasions recently I’ve found myself at the front of a room of people, delivering a presentation. Now you would imagine that, since my line of business is very firmly communications, this wouldn’t phase me. But what I enjoy the most is getting OTHERS into the limelight. Whilst I love the preparation; love the results; love the afterglow – the actual presentation itself fills me with trepidation.

So I here are a few useful tips I’ve picked up recently about presenting with aplomb:

  • A great presentation is a journey. First establish where your audience is (ie. are they worried about finances/excited about a new project/interested in the future) and then let them know how you are going to get them to their destination. The taking that analogy a bit further, they might be in rainy Clackton, and at the end of your presentation, you’ll have them in the Maldives. Hopefully.
  • When you come to speak, take charge of your stage. Move the props to suit you.
  • In order to capture the audience’s attention, try asking a question; making a provocative statement or recount an amusing tale.
  • People tend to most remember the first thing you said, and the last thing you said – so make sure these are worth it
  • Tell them what you’re going to say – say it – then tell them what you’ve told them.
  • Always try to include a case study. For example, lots of people say they have excellent customer service, but, if you can, give an example – like you hopped into your own car and drove the parts to the customer (or whatever) – then it has so much more impact, because it’s a story AND it’s believable.
  • All presentations need a call to action at the end. What do you want people to do after they’ve heard your talk? Register on website for an ebook? Log into webinar? Book next course?
  • Before you start your presentation, breathe slowly in for a count of 8…. hold the breathe for 4 seconds, and breathe out for 8. Do this 4 times. Quite amazingly, this works rather well as a way to calm nerves, and gain control of your voice.

And finally, if it helps at all, please feel free to use my personal mantra which is: ‘I’m a grown up. I can do this’

(Thanks to Karen Tems and  Andrew Thorp for inspiring me)

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