Most people cringe at the thought of presenting to a room full of people, or even presenting to their everyday colleagues. I used to hate presenting, my heart would race, my brain would fog over and worst of all, my voice would high pitch itself. It felt like everyone was squirming in compassion for my discomfort. Thankfully, those days are long gone, and now I’m regularly asked to speak at industry events. I embrace these opportunities, knowing how much fun I’m going to have.
Presenting or public speaking is a key skill to master in business. Being a credible speaker helps to position you as an expert in your area. And, you will find that promotions, deals and all round recognition come your way so much more easily, when you can present #BossLady style.
If presenting doesn’t come naturally to you, these #BossLady tips will help you to push through. And then, one fine day, you will find that you dance the dance of joy every time someone asks you to present (yes, it will happen!)
This step is vital, most especially in the early days, and even when you become a pro presenter. You want to respect your audience enough to put in quality time prepping.
We will look at slide design and contents in more detail in a future article, here I’ll cover some of the fundamentals to a high functioning presentation.
1. Big Image, minimal words
The words should just be a thought guide to what you want to share on that slide, and the key point that you want to hit home. You’ll know yourself how painful it is to read along with the presenter on a slide jam packed with text.
2. One idea per slide
You’ll often be told that you need to have 10 slides or less. I find that it works better to have more slides with less crammed into each slide. The audience won’t know you’ve moved from one slide to the next when it is elegantly presented, as much as they will struggle to consume the information when too many graphs, images and ideas appear on one slide.
3. Easy to read, decent sized font
Your audience should quickly grasp your slide’s message and move their focus back to you
4. Keep the transition clean
Not too many, if any at all, unnecessary bells and whistles. Like twirling, flashing text and such. No need for me to explain why.
5. Watch your colour
Be sensitive that 1 in 12 men, especially white men, are colour blind to some extent. This means that they will struggle to read red text on a black background.
6. Practice out loud
Yes, it will feel corny, but do it anyway. First do it sitting at your desk, and then stand up and practice out loud as if you are actually presenting. Make sure that you remember your key points, that you are comfortable knowing when to click to the next slide, and what’s coming up next. Notice your hands and general body language. Relax your shoulders, open up your arms, but don’t flap them about too much. Smile. Breathe. Practice again.
7. Find real life examples
These will help to bring your key points home, you will sound and feel more comfortable when talking anecdotally, and the audience will get what you’re sharing more easily.
1. Take your time on the morning of your presentation
Go slower. Get your head space calm and your mind centered. Think about the anecdotes that you will be sharing, and in your mind’s eye, see how well they will be received.
2. use a centering tool
On the way to the venue I always say this prayer, it helps me to feel that everyone is in this together and that I will be well supported. Try it, or you can create a prayer that will do the same for you.
‘I call on my highest vibration Angels and the highest vibration Angels of everyone attending today’s presentation. I call on the highest vibration Angels of Great Presentations, of Clear Speaking and of Clear Thinking, I call on the highest vibration Angels of (the Topic)’, plus any other Angels that I’d like to have in the room.’
I close my prayer with ‘Please be with me in this presentation, helping me to speak clearly, and with passion, so that everyone really gets what I am saying and supports this message. In service of the Highest Good of all concerned. Thank You’.
3. GET TO THE VENUE WITH TIME TO SPARE
Make sure that you get to the venue with more than enough time to spare. There are often technical issues with sound, the clicker, computer compatibility and the likes. So, it helps to check out where you will stand, and if you are comfortable that it is suited to your style of presentation. I tend to express myself with wide open arms. And so I always make sure that there is nothing nearby to knock over and distract me. Once you are happy that your presentation is set up just right, join the delegates in the coffee area.
4. Get a feel for the crowd
This is your chance to build a few connections and to understand what people’s expectations are, and what their morning getting to the venue was like. These tidbits will help you to feel connected to the audience, and you can use some this in your intro where relevant, ‘I know that some of you are hoping to walk away with …, well, you’re in luck, because …’.
5. Power up
Just before I go into the presentation room, I pop to the ladies, check make up, hair etc. pop into a booth, and raise my hands really high in the celebration stance, grinning from ear to ear. This powering up technique will fill you with confidence, and it works wonders for me. Try it now and see for yourself 🙂
Finally, THE actual presentation
1. NO RUSH HONEY
Take your time once you are in front of everyone, as this is your moment. So, breathe deep. Look around. Smile. Pause. And relax your shoulders, this is going to be fun.
2. Upfront thank you’s
I always like to thank and welcome the person who introduced me. I also thank and welcome the audience. While it is always good manners to do so, you will make that call, based on where you are in the programme, and other circumstances.
Then it’s time. Your out-loud rounds of practice will stand you in good stead now, because you won’t have the pressure of remembering your points,. You will also be able to enjoy some eye contact, some warmth and connection as you share.
If you find that your breathing is short; pause, smile, take a few breaths to get back to center and then continue.No one will judge you for a pause, whereas a squeaky voice, as an example, will show your nerves.
5. Slow Down
Talking slower is infinitely better than rushing. So keep your pace slow and connected.
6. Be the Queen Bee
Know that, for this time, you are the expert sharing your wisdom, and enjoy the experience. You are Queen of the podium, #BossLady of the topic!
I always thank my audience when I am done, because, for me, it is always an honour to share space in community.
#BossLady Opinion: Let us know what your presentation secrets and tips are in the comments below, and please share with a friend who will thank you