Face your fear: Presenting

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Face your fear: Presenting

Posted date 08 December 2020

On survey, people admit to having a greater fear of presenting to another group of people more than they fear death itself.

(Source – Psychology Today)

I’m sure it’s easy to respond like this when being surveyed and that (heaven forbid) any of those surveyed are ever actually presented with the stark choice of ‘present or die’ (can you imagine!)

Presentation skills have been a common theme in development plans for many of my former team members and in honour of this, I thought I would share some tips for those of you who have yet to take the plunge:

Be Prepared

An audience will automatically assume you are a subject matter expert. Be fully conversant with the material on your slides. If you are not 100% familiar with your slides this will lead to a lack of confidence and this will be apparent to your audience. There is no room in a presentation or ‘urms’ or ‘aahs’ – you must know your subject matter!

Practise with a colleague, if possible, prior to delivering your presentation. Saying your words out loud also gives you the opportunity to practise tone and emphasis.

The better prepared you are – the more confident you will be and this will translate directly to your audience.

Anticipate Questions

Have a think about what questions or challenges you may face and have your facts & figures ready in response. If you are presented with a question that you haven’t anticipated, acknowledge the question and commit to respond to it offline and directly with the individual who asked the question.

There is no shame in not having an immediate answer however you must be accountable and follow up diligently.

Connect with your audience

Remember that the vast majority of your audience will be relieved it is you and not them!

Make eye contact with different individuals as you present and move from individuals after a few seconds. This is very powerful and puts you in control of the audience.

It is also useful to name check colleagues or use them as examples especially around positive points you are making.

Move around whilst speaking and ‘take’ the audience with you. A presentation is a journey with a sense of beginning, middle and end. Moving around and using expressive body language enhances that sense of journey and also keeps your audience awake and engaged!

Ensure that you inject personality into your delivery. ‘People buy people’ is a long-established fact. By showing your personality, you will feel more relaxed and confident and your audience will also feel the same.

PowerPoint Slides

Your slides should not be too detailed. If your audience has to spend long seconds leaning forward and squinting to get through the detail on your slides, they will not be hearing the words you are saying and you run the risk of disconnecting with your audience.

Use bullet points or graphics to deliver the main theme but the detail behind the headlines should come from you and an audience that is interested in your subject matter will want to hear the detail and will remain connected with your delivery.

Don’t over-use video’s in your presentation. Video’s are great to help make your point but too many, or video’s that are too long will exhaust your audience and will introduce restlessness.

Finding Context

Finally, before you take the stage, think of something you may have experienced that makes presenting, by comparison, an easy task.

In my case, in an earlier career as a Process Server, I had to deal with abusive people who (by their very nature) had a penchant for violence and on a number of occasions I faced knives and on one occasion, a shotgun. In comparison to those experiences – presenting is a piece of cake and it is useful to remind myself of those experiences before making a presentation!

Everyone has faced issues far worse than presenting in their life and should be able to contrast those experiences with the prospect of presenting.

In short, be your own inspiration.

For more information around Coaching for Presenting, please reach out to us at: www.sebolin.co.uk

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