Presenting powerfully

Does the prospect of presenting send you into a panic?

Does your stomach churn at the thought of having to speak to a room? Do nerves about standing up in front of an audience make you nauseous?

This is something you’re going to have to address and overcome.

Presenting powerfullyMany managers say they are comfortable giving an opinion whilst sitting at the desk or around the board room table, but as soon as they are required to stand up to deliver a presentation, the nerves kick in.

The ability to stand up and present confidently and competently to an audience – whether that’s your own team, a board meeting, management team or an audience of clients – is an essential skill for women in management to master. An ability to command a room assertively is a critical tool in conveying presence.

Create your own opportunities to practice this skill – volunteer to present at team meetings initially, so that it becomes a normal way of life to stand in the limelight. Don’t just attend meetings held by different departments – ask to speak. Raise your head above the parapet and get presenting!

Get yourself trained and coached in effective presentation skills – seek feedback from colleagues so you know your strengths and areas for improvement.

Think about how you are actively connecting with your audience. How effectively are you pitching your key messages? How well are you keeping their attention? Are they engaged throughout? What are the salient points you want to leave with your audience? What is the lasting impression they have of you as you finish speaking?

Not making the most of an opportunity to be in the limelight is short term thinking. It may save you from the ‘pain’ of that moment, but the damage it can do long term is significant.

Be brave, be bold!

The acid test is…would you want to sit through your own presentation?

Carpe diem – this is your chance to shine and be remembered…for the right reasons!

Allow yourself time to prepare, plan your presentation and key messages, decide how you will engage your audience and keep them interested throughout, then practice, practice, practice!

Alternatively, just step aside and let someone else take advantage of the opportunity that’s being offered to you…at your peril!

Powerful presentationsHere are ten ways to kill a presentation:
  1. Don’t bother to prepare it – just wing it, they’ll never notice.
  2. Keep apologising for yourself, especially if it’s the first time you’ve presented on that subject.
  3. Read from your notes all the way through – or alternatively, speak only at the screen behind you.
  4. Use jargon and technobabble to deliberately confuse your audience.
  5. Make sure you have no intonation in your voice – drone if possible.
  6. Don’t use stories or analogies or examples to bring things to life.
  7. Direct what you’re saying to one person in the group and ignore everyone else.
  8. Keep your body language closed at all times – preferably no eye contact and arms folded defensively.
  9. Under no circumstances should you smile – wouldn’t want the audience thinking you were pleased to be there!
  10. Speak for longer than they expect, never keep to time.