By Guest Contributor Nicole Soames
Author Nicole Soames, explains the basics of how to deliver your presentation with confidence, based on her newest book The Presenting Book.
If the mere thought of delivering a presentation gives you sweaty palms, heart palpitations and a dry mouth, you’re certainly not alone. Research shows that about 10% of people love presenting, another 10% are completely terrified of it, which leaves about 80% of us who experience some degree of anxiety at the thought of giving a presentation. The secret to banishing these nerves so you can present with confidence either virtually or in person, is to take the time to practise what your say, how you sound and how you appear.
1. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU SAY
First things first, you need to practise using confident language and avoid any ‘weak speak’. Examples of ‘weak speak’ are ‘hopefully’, ‘probably’ and ‘maybe’ – words that undermine your position as a subject matter expert. Confidence is contagious. If you speak with authority, people are more likely to buy-in to what you are saying. Your goal is to engage your audience by communicating clearly and concisely – remember your audience is seeing your presentation for the first time, so walk them through each slide to help you land your key messages.
2. FINE TUNE HOW YOU SAY IT
Your voice is a powerful weapon that gives your words meaning, interest, purpose, conviction and energy. You can use it to add spikes of interest to capture your audience’s attention by focusing on the three Ps: pacing, precision and pitch. The optimum pace for presenting is 127 words per minute so don’t be tempted to rush your presentation. Be precise and enunciate your words so your intention is clear and remember to vary your pitch and volume to keep you audience engaged in what you have to say.
3. WALK THE TALK
Imagine a drum roll: you need to feel like this is your moment and you are ready to command the stage. This means looking and acting the part in order to reassure your audience that they are in safe hands. Be brave and honest about how you appear – ask a colleague or friend for feedback on what your body language says about you. Then actively focus on any non-verbal cues and make sure you get eye contact with your audience. As a rule of thumb, you need to hold eye contact for the length of a thought. Once you’ve landed your message, there should be a smile or nod to show you have connected with that person and then you can move on. This is clearly more challenging when you are presenting virtually – your aim should be to amplify your body language and ensure your audience can see you as well as your slides whenever possible.
FINAL PIECE OF ADVICE
Remember to pull it all together and rehearse out loud before the actual presentation. As any stage performer will testify, it’s the hours behind the scenes that make your performance look effortless on stage. By following these steps to hone your delivery style, you will be well on your way to capturing your audience’s attention and delivering a confident and polished performance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
NICOLE SOAMES is a highly qualified coach and emotional intelligence practitioner. She gained extensive commercial experience during her 12 years managing large sales teams at Unilever andUnited Biscuits, followed by over 15 years developing and deliver-ing training programmes around the world. In 2009, Nicole founded Diadem Performance, a leading commercial skills training and coach-ing company. With over 100 clients across the globe, Diadem has helped many thousands of people become ‘commercial athletes’ in influencing, selling, negotiation, account management, marketing, presenting, strategy, coaching, leadership and management. Nicole is also the author of the bestselling The CoachingBook, The Influence Book and The Negotiation Book, all in the Concise Advice series from LID Business Media.
We often hear the phrase you only get one chance to make a great first impression when, in fact, it s the impressions we make on a daily basis that make a compelling personal brand. In today s increasingly competitive world, the ability to present the best version of yourself in both formal and informal situations is critical to your success.
The Presenting Book is an inspiring and engaging handbook packed with Nicole Soames expert advice, practical tools and exercises. This book will teach you how to become a highly skilled presenter in all areas of your life whether you re presenting a sales report to the board, promoting your personal brand online, networking at an event or being the keynote speaker at a conference. You ll learn how to develop your emotional intelligence, capture and hold peoples attention and deliver your performance with confidence.