Do you fear standing up in front of a group of people to present about yourself and your business?
Would you like to improve your presentation skills to achieve higher success in your business?
I am a rare breed and some might say a little crazy – I love public speaking! I have also been a singer and performer for a number of years. But it has not always been this way. When I first started singing 15 years ago, I was so tense my legs would ache after 30 minutes!
It is a fairly well known fact that public speaking is the number one fear in the world, over and above death and terminal illness. The term for this is Glossophobia (the fear of public speaking) and it is the most common phobia! It is however a skill and a skill that can be developed and improved by using the right approach and techniques.
Below, I cover 7 of these techniques that I feel will significantly improve the way you present.
If you would like help in becoming a better presenter, you can join me when I run my next presentation skills in partnership with the East Midlands Chamber. More details are here for you.
Here are 7 ideas to get you started:
- Know your aims and outcomes upfront.People have not come to see you, they have come to hear about the subject of your presentation and what this can do for them. You need to make your aims really clear and confirm that they fit with their expectations.
- Design your presentation before using technology. For many business people the first move is to open PowerPoint or Key Note, but you need to think about the subject matter and design of your presentation first. Think widely about all the topic areas you feel are relevant to your presentation. Then write down all the different areas you want to cover on cards, post its or a mind map to group the areas together. Ask me about Abraham Lincoln’s hat and I will tell you more!
- Do away with notes. Many of you will have come across the use of visual imagery to aid memory and this is certainly applicable for presentations too. You can create a visual image for each part of your presentation and then tie them together by using visual links too. At the very least simply rely on cue cards or cue slide images, but don’t read from notes or even worse from presentation slides!
- Get the interaction going early on. Break down the barriers from the start. You can ask people a simple question. Maybe something to confirm that they are in the right room (tie it back to the outcomes maybe). If you don’t get a strong response push until you do.
- Use stories and language effectively. Many will tell you that your communication is only 7% based on the language you use. What they wont tell you that this is based on 2 very basic experiments from over 40 years ago. This in my view is a myth and as well as your body language and your tonality, the language you use is extremely important. It is good to have a bank of stories to use when you present, examples of successful client work, your own experiences, anything that will bring the presentation to life.
- Cover all the bases for your audience.People respond to information in different ways and it is important to be mindful of this when preparing your presentation. Some people respond to information in a visual way, some focus more on the auditory aspect of the information and others are more concerned with feelings and practicalities. This is important in how you deliver the material and also in the language that you use. You need to make your presentation as inclusive as possible.
- Use the room effectively.Some people will advise you to stand behind the lectern and deliver your presentation from a fixed position. This is not the most engaging way of working with your audience and building a relationship. Although it is not advisable to erratically move around, some structured movement enhances your presentation. You can use certain places in the room to focus on certain themes or feelings. All of this will bring an element of performance to your presentations.
To find out more about our presentation skills programmes please click here.