When we were asked to bring a prop to describe our business to last night’s Network Ireland Kildare Branch event, I didn’t have to think about it for very long!
I brought a padlock with me. Why?
So many people are trapped by their fear of public speaking.
Business owners attend networking meetings as ambassadors for their business. They need to communicate clearly in their networking pitch what they do , how they do it and for whom. Poor presentation skills can hinder that communication.
Maybe their team members are held back by public speaking nerves from contributing at meetings or avoid delivering work presentations, potentially stalling their career progress.
Or maybe it’s in a social setting- the father of the bride who is dreading the speech on his daughter’s big day.
Public speaking is a skill, and skills can be learned!
We help individuals unlock 🔓 their public speaking confidence.
We provide presentation skills training that helps individuals to identify their message, create and deliver presentations that communicate their message clearly and competently.
I was delighted to win “Best Prop” on the night. Thanks to Tara Lane from Centrepiece Rosettes for the lovely rosette prize!
If you would like to discuss how we could help you or your team unlock your public speaking confidence, contact us for a no-obligation call
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success” – Alexander Graham Bell
In my previous Blog post, I spoke about the impact of the fear of public speaking. It can prevent people from speaking up at meetings or they can decline opportunities to deliver presentations. It can even cause their career to stall.
I outlined the 3 P’s to successful presentations- Prepare, Practice and Post-Presentation feedback. Of these, the most important is undoubtedly “Prepare”. This post takes a look at 7 areas that you can focus on in your preparation. I also have a series of short videos on YouTube that look at each area.
Establish who will be listening to your presentation. What level of information do they need? Is it a helicopter view, or do you need specific details? What information do they already have that you can build on? What level of resistance might they have and how can you address that?
What is the purpose of your presentation? Do you want to inform? Persuade? Motivate? Educate? Decide this at the very start. Write a single sentence stating the purpose clearly. “At the end of this presentation the audience will……..” All content for your presentation revolves around the purpose.
Your next step is to brainstorm all possible content that you could include. Write down all your ideas on post- it notes or on a mind map. When you have exhausted all possibilities, start to filter. Use the two criteria that you have established. Ask yourself two questions: Does it fit with your purpose? Does this audience need to hear it? If the answer to both questions is “Yes”, then keep it. If it’s “No”, then discard it.
Now that you have the main points that you could include, see how will you structure the main body of the presentation. How long will it be? Will you have one main point with three sub-sections, or will you use three points and sub-divide each? Is there a logical flow between your points? Have you supporting material for each point- a statistic, an example, a story?
You have the audience’s full attention at the opening, so use it to your advantage. Grab and hold their attention by using a technique such as telling a story; asking a question; or making an intriguing statement.
Finish on a strong note. If you are taking questions, consider taking them throughout the presentation, or as your second last item. This allows you to summarise your points at the end and conclude with your call to action.
If you’re using slides, leave their preparation until last so that you know the flow of your presentation. Do you need them? Are they adding to the audience’s understanding, or are they a crutch for you during your presentation? If it’s the latter, then leave them out! There are numerous articles online about how to prepare your slides and I will do a post about it in the future. For now, suffice to say that less is more!
If you would like to see how I could work with you or your team to improve your presentation skills, email me to arrange a no-obligation call. firstname.lastname@example.org
You probably have heard Jerry Seinfeld’s oft-quoted joke:
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
The accuracy of public speaking being the number one fear nowadays could be questioned. The original study carried out by R. H. Bruskin Associates took place in 1973.
However, for many people, there is no doubt that the fear of public speaking is real and that fear can prevent them making progress in their careers .
Does any of this sound familiar?
You avoid speaking up at meetings
You decline the opportunity to give presentations
You feel you career has stalled because of your inability to speak in front of others
There are steps you can take to help you become more confident when delivering your presentations or speaking out at meetings. Over the next few weeks, my blog posts will share some tips and techniques to help. In this post, I will give you a brief overview of the 3 P’s of delivering a confident presentation.
Sharpen the Axe
Abraham Lincoln said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”
Sharpen your axe before the presentation.
Prepare carefully. What is the key message that you want your audience to take away? When you establish that, build your presentation around it.
Practice the material – be familiar with it. Practice your timing. Practice using your slides.
Before you congratulate yourself on delivering your presentation, think about how you can improve the next time. Maybe you can ask a colleague to give you feedback on certain aspects of the presentation. Or maybe you could video your presentation and watch it back later. Watch to see what went well, and where you can improve next time.
Effective public speaking takes practice, so start gradually, notice improvements and build on them.