There are plenty of us out there – we are experts in our fields, we do our jobs or run our own businesses with skill and we’re good at what we do. But we also need to promote our skills, achievements or the services we offer. Whether you’re in a job or running your own business, you still need to get your message across confidently. Sure, there are other ways to promote your business; however, presenting is an exceptionally good choice because you can reach a wide audience. Plus, the audience can see you and get to know you, and you can show them that you are an expert in your topic. So what can you do if you are not that comfortable with presenting, but you think it is a good way to get to your potential clients?
Learning to present
Presenting and public speaking are learnt skills.I believe we can all learn to present successfully in front of a group. However, if you want to develop your presenting skills, then you will need to commit time and energy to the task; and you must want to grow and develop, because developing your presentation skills also takes you on a wonderful personal development journey. What are the steps to follow on this ‘Learning to present’ journey?
- Expand your comfort zone – as you learn to present, you will have to allow yourself to go out of your comfort zone and get uncomfortable in front of an audience. This takes courage and commitment. Your business is your livelihood – you’re willing to go and learn new skills for the sake of your business, aren’t you? Sure you are!Some presentations will go well and you will develop your confidence from these, but there are always those times when things don’t go smoothly. You have to keep going, keep trying, always stretching yourself to develop your confidence, no matter what!
- Work at presentation skills training – there are many skills that go into presenting and it certainly will help you to work at these with a coach, someone who understands the process and has the skills to train you.The areas that you need to learn about are:
- speech structure and organisation
- how to keep an audience’s attention
- how to use technology e.g. PowerPoint, Keynote
- the importance of body language
- the use of the voice
- how to handle nervousness
- how to make a presentation captivating
- what not to do!There are plenty of coaches, classes and organisations to assist you in these areas.
- Reduce negative self-chatter – Did you know that 40% of the population fear speaking in public? And it doesn’t matter what size the group. So if you don’t like public speaking and fear getting up in front of a group – you’re not alone. What is holding you back? What is stopping you from speaking to a group and giving them information that they need? Part of it is that negative self-chatter.Negative self-chatter dispels dreams, holds us back and reduces our effectiveness because we keep saying, ‘I can’t do that’, ‘They won’t want to listen to me’, ‘What if I mess up?’, ‘I don’t know where to start – it’s too hard to get my information together’, ‘The audience will be looking at me – I don’t like that!’, ‘People don’t listen to me’ – and the list goes on.If you are going to develop your presentation skills and confidently get your message across, you have to work (on a very personal level) to stop that negative chatter that goes on and on in your mind. You need to rewire the chatter so it becomes positive self-talk, which builds your confidence, builds self esteem, and will help you to achieve your goals and dreams.Again, this takes commitment and courage – remember the presentation is not about you, it’s about what the audience wants to know. You are giving them the information they have invested time to hear.
- Overcome your nervousness – it’s natural to get nervous when speaking in front of a group, especially when you are not used to presenting. Remember, this involves at least 40% of the population so you are not alone.It helps to understand what happens to your body when you get nervous about presenting. Feeling nervous can trigger a ‘fight or flight’ response in the body. Adrenalin goes around the body, it’s difficult to think straight and breathing becomes shallow. To overcome the nerves, you have to find the approach that works for you. This could be exercise, any form of relaxation (yoga is fabulous), meditation, making sure you are prepared and rehearsed, or just having a positive mindset.The final suggestion is to keep giving presentations, because once you get used to giving presentations regularly, you’ll no longer feel that presenting is outside your comfort zone: it will be inside your comfort zone. This is very important – the more you give presentations, the better and more confident you will become.
- Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse – this means running through your presentation so you are prepared and know what you want to say, making sure your slides are appropriate and look good, and checking that your timing is spot on. Mishaps happen, this is normal, but the more you rehearse and prepare, the more confident you will be when it’s your time to present. Actors and performers rehearse and rehearse; business people delivering presentations need to do this, too.
Presenting to promote
At the start of your presenting experiences, it all takes a lot of effort but, as you get more comfortable with giving presentations, the easier it becomes. When you are delivering content that you are passionate about, this passion will shine through and inspire your audience. Promoting your business by speaking is a great way to display that you are the expert. Build a presentation on a topic/subject in your industry. Don’t talk about products! Then go and find places to deliver your presentation – search out Rotary or Lions clubs, business associations, networking groups and so on. Choose your target market and look for presenting opportunities there. You can prepare video for your website and YouTube – this is another way to display your expertise. Presenting to camera will need some training; however, video marketing is becoming a popular strategy and is wonderful for use on social media. If you are an expert in your field and you develop your presentation skills, this will give you a marvellous opportunity to meet potential clients, build connections, even build a tribe. By developing your presentation skills, your confidence will grow and this will ultimately help you to grow your business. So, since you are an expert in your field, learn to love to present!
If you are wanting to develop your presentation skills or help your staff to present with impact, contact Adrienne McLean at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring on 0414 367 960.