Want to feel more confident about an upcoming presentation?
Marie, VP of Operations at a boutique consulting firm, did when she emailed me for help.
“I don’t have a lot of time to prepare!” she told me.
Luckily her presentation was short – 15 minutes on a topic she knew well – the history of her company.
The problem? Marie had so much to say, she needed help clarifying her thoughts to create a succinct and compelling message.
“I need to nail this and show them I have what it takes to present and lead,” she told me when we met.
We didn’t have a lot of time. “Let’s focus on the open and close,” I said. “If you nail those the rest will flow naturally.”
And that’s what we did. In the short time we had to together – about 4 hours – Marie gained a lot of clarity about what she wanted to say. Then, she practiced out loud to ensure the non-verbals (i.e., body movements, eye contact) conveyed the right energy and tone.
When we were done Marie let out a big sigh and said, “I feel so much better about this. Thank you.”
The day after Marie’s presentation she sent me this note:
I am happy to say my presentation went great. It was different from the other two presenters and BETTER. I got a lot of feedback from everyone there. It was simple, good slides and relatable for everyone in the audience. The others were busy slides with graphs, charts, LOTS of text and they were not nearly as prepared as I was.
THANK YOU AGAIN SO VERY MUCH!!!!!
If you, like Marie, want to feel more confident before your next presentation, below are 5 insights to help prove that you, too, have what it takes to present and lead effectively.
Feeling uneasy is normal
Feeling uneasy before a high stakes meeting or presentation shows you care and something important is at stake. The key is to transform nervous energy into emotion, excitement or enthusiasm.
Have a clear and specific purpose
A clear and specific purpose allows you to stay on track and on topic so you can develop a clear message.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Have you ever thought, “I feel confident when I know exactly what I want to say.” If yes, you are not alone. Winging it is not an effective communication strategy. Take time to plan for, prepare and practice (out loud) what you want to say, so that you can communicate your message clearly and confidently.
Challenge the status quo
“PowerPoint is a must.” “I’d rather stand to present but that’s not our culture.” Look, I hear these statements all the time. To do your best work for your clients and company, be willing to challenge the status quo. If standing is better for you, stand up. If you get tripped up using a slide deck, don’t use it or figure out how to use it differently (Marie used less text, more images).
Presentations are about connection
Your knowledge and ideas can make life or business better for the clients you serve. In order to get buy-in, people need to feel connected to you, they need to trust you, they need to know you care. See meetings and presentations as a chance to share your message, engage people, and create a meaningful experience for everyone.
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