I remember a few years ago, I was invited to a networking group and when I got there, they let me know that I got to get up and talk about my business for 30 seconds. I WAS PETRIFIED! I probably would not have gone to the meeting if I had known I was going to have to get up and speak in front of 25 people.
Over time, though, I have learned a few things that help me deal with presenting to a group, and I want to share some of them with you. Of these tips, some are things that I have learned on my own, others are tips that I received from the Certified Networker Program (a program offered by the Referral Institute), and an influence from an amazing networker, Tom Fleming.
#1 – Practice: This is probably one of the most crucial things that you can do in order to be successful when giving a presentation. When I practice, I am up on my feet, moving around, practicing as if I was giving the presentation. I used to practice at my desk, but it did not have the same result. What I found is that when I practice my presentation 4-6 times before I present, I am much more comfortable in front of the room during the presentation; I am focused on connecting with the audience and sharing my message instead of trying to remember what I wanted to say next. #2 – Realize: People listen to the music, not the words: This tip from the Certified Networker Program completely changed the way that I approached doing presentations. Music can include, but not limited to: pauses, facial expression, changing pitch, tone & volume, gestures and movement.
#3 – Examine why you are afraid: What is the biggest thing you are afraid of? I have messed up SO many times, I can no longer count my errors, but often times I connect with the audience when I mess up.
Take a few minutes to think about what your fear is when you are speaking…
#4 – Have an amazing introduction: When you are speaking, your #1 goal is to compel others to like you! And by starting the presentation with an amazing introduction (not by you, by someone else), you are putting yourself in a position to have the audience to like you before you even begin to speak.
#5 – Be authentic: Early on in my speaking career, I tried to emulate other amazing presenters that I saw; in doing that, I was not being true to who I was as a person. What I started to do instead, is take pieces of what I saw others doing that I love, and use it in a way that worked with who I naturally am. By being me, instead of trying to be someone else, I am more comfortable from the start, and connect with the audience.
And a common tip, that I hear when it comes to many things in your life, is “Fake it till you make it”. I am still nervous many times before I do a presentation, but the nerves quickly become an adrenaline rush as I am able to help others make their life a success.
What are some of the lessons you have learned to help when doing a presentation?
How can you use these tips for your next presentation?