Delivering a presentation can be an effective and efficient method of marketing – both your own personal brand and that of the company you work for. It depends on how you perform.
Confidence in presenting convinces your audience of your competence. They will feel ready to be convinced by your argument since you have proved you know what you’re talking about and must be the expert.
However many people don’t just feel nervous, they dread presentation-giving. Their hearts sink if they are told they must perform, especially if they’re introverted and task orientated. Many of my clients have a technical background – research science and engineering, accountancy and law. They are supreme experts in their field. They know how to assemble facts into a credible argument in order to win qualification, doctorates, research grants, HMRC inspections and cases. However, feeling confident enough to convince people, to win business may be quite another matter!
There are many different reasons for why people get frightened of presentation. Have a look at this excellent article outlining exactly where in the brain different fears come from and what to do about them.
Tips to overcome some of your fears:
- Understand Your BHAG: Your BHAG is your Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. If you understand why exactly you are in this room, talking to these people, about this topic and what happens next, then you are clear about your intention. It gives you gravitas and meaning.
- If your mind is feeding you fear pictures, you are likely to get worried. However, logically your presentation could equally be a triumph. So when you catch yourself out imagining the worst, immediately also imagine how a successful presentation might go. Take as many pains in imagining the most glowing of happy, successful and delightful outcomes where your message has truly landed and your audience is taking the actions you asked of them. Follow it through in your mind to study the outcomes in the short, medium and long term.
- Remember Action Diminishes Fear. If you start to get nervous, take action. Distract yourself by doing something that demands your attention and if possible something physical that takes your energy.
- On the day itself, Welcome Your Nerves. They are your best asset. They ensure your presentation has energy, magnetism and focus – if you project it outwards.
- Pay Attention To Your Audience: Your attention needs to be focused on your audience, not yourself and your own performance. If you do that, you have the best information as to what to say and how to say it by reading their body language. Have a look at my blog posting: “When Your Audience Closes Their Eyes, It Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Listening”
- Don’t Learn Your Presentation: One of the best and strongest foundations to diminishing fear is to know the shape of your content. I very much emphasise: DON’T LEARN IT! Learning it word for word can leave you vulnerable if events demand changes at the last minute or something distracts you in mid-flow.
- Learn The Outline: If you know the shape of your content, you can improvise and include or exclude dependent on how your audience is responding.
As you’ve realised, I strongly emphasise developing a clear shape to your presentation. It makes it much easier for you to remember which means you are much more confident about presenting. In the next post, I’ll share with you the outline my favourite template……….