Public speaking and delivering presentations! For most of us, these bring a feeling of dread within us, knowing that we will be the centre of attention and many people will be watching every move we make. And it puts the fear of the devil into us.
Presentations and public speaking are up there, with death and paying tax, on the fear barometer!
But there are key things you can do in both presentations and public speaking to reduce your anxiety and keep your panic at bay.
The Importance of presentation skills for Leaders and Managers
I have seen thousands of speakers over the years who are boring. The content may be useful, but the delivery is woeful.
Death by PowerPoint, as they say. We would rather have a dynamic and entertaining presenter who may not deliver a detailed presentation as such, than a highly academic presenter who delivers miles of research statistics and reports. And is boring.
As a key competence in leadership development and management training, people in key positions need to be good orators and have confidence to stand in front of others, speaking well and presenting with clarity. And the higher a leader climbs up the Organisational ladder, the more important this core competence becomes.
I remember years ago listening to a talented leader, who was at the top of the Organisation (he thought he was at the top of his game) – clever, confident, well-dressed and able to have a conversation with people at any level. He had done the leadership training, the management training and ticked all the boxes in his management course.
But he had not been trained or done any business coaching in Presentation Skills. And on one occasion, when I watched him present to his Board, it was obvious he was under-prepared, flustered and did not have mastery over the content at all.
This one skill, delivering presentations well and competently, lost him credibility and confidence by the Board. He had it all, but was lacking in a key skill needed in successful leadership.
It is impossible to rally and inspire the troops if you can’t influence them through speech.
My job was to coach him and get him up to speed in speaking well publicly and equipping him with the competence and ability to stand and deliver powerful presentations.
Key reasons why presentations fail
- The presenter has not prepared properly or enough
- The presenter does not ‘connect’ with the audience – reading words on the PowerPoint as opposed to relating with the audience
- Where’s the smile and ‘good vibe’ feel? – the presenter looks stern (they could be anxious) and hasn’t got a positive approach
- The presenters body language is static, close and they don’t move around
- Poor eye contact – presenters should move their glance around the room, connecting with the audience as they speak
- Technical talking – the words the presenter uses are far too technical and goes over the heads of the people listening to them
- Lack of energy and humour – the presenter just stands on the stage, not moving and never bringing in the ‘fun’ element. Regardless of the topic, every presentation comes alive with fun and humour
- Lack of direction in the presentation – the audience asks themselves ‘where are we going with this talk?’
Leadership development and management training courses need to include public speaking and delivering impactful presentations in the content, or else it could cost leaders significantly.
In some Organisations in which we work, a core competence is presentation skills and before people become leaders or are promoted to more senior positions, they are taught to present well. No leader can be inspiring if they stumble and stutter.
9 key strategies to deliver powerful presentations
- Prepare, prepare and practise, practise: Get ready, get organised and master the content and delivery
- Establish your credibility: Explain who you are, what your area of expertise is and what you bring to the table? In other words, what experience or expertise do you have that gives you the right to present to them today?
- Animate your presentation and keep words on the slides to a minimum
- Outline why? Provide a goal for your talk: Tell them what you are going to talk to them about, talk to them about it and then tell them that you did
- Support your talk with material – provide statistics, reference research, quote well-respected people relevant to your talk/presentation
- Break your presentation into segments, changing lanes with powerful images or quotes
- Be interactive with your audience: Ask them open-ended questions or introduce an activity into your presentation
- Bring in amazing facts that are relevant to your presentation to add the WOW factor and keep your audience interested
- Handle difficult questions with ease. If you don’t know the answer, thank them for their question, tell them you don’t know the answer and promise to get back to them within a short time frame
- Bring in a few of your own questions in case nobody has one. The ‘up my sleeve’ question that you finish off with that relates to your presentation and makes a point in some way
- Give them the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the presentation
Don’t be one of those boring Presenters that people dread listening to. Contact us to help you nail the art of Powerful Presentations.
Pure Magic International Business Solutions is an award-winning company, passionate about helping clients achieve strategic business outcomes by providing innovative leadership, management and people development strategies and techniques at all levels and by using a range of easy to implement OD and HR strategies.
To find out more, head to www.puremagicbusiness.com.au