There are two kinds of people, when it comes to presenting–those with practice, and everyone else. If you think you could never present as well as the people you see doing it–think again.
Ever person you see as a pro at pitching their ideas, speaking in front of groups, or persuading people of anything ALL started out with kinks and twists in their presenting skills. This is definitely one of those skills where practice makes perfect.
I have two tips to get you started.
- Always imagine why your audience cares about your topic; not why you want them to care.
- What about it will effect them?
- What problem might they have that this solves?
- How can this help them, entertain them, or otherwise meet their need?
- Video tape yourself or record yourself until you can say it the way you want.
- Make an outline of key points; not a script.
- Talk about it to a pretend person while recording yourself. You can use your phone; keep it simple.
- Repeat this process until you are happy with how it sounds.
My first job out of college was as a sales rep and I was miserable. I was shy, rarely asked for what I wanted, and never attempted to change someone’s mind if they said no. I was a fish out of water. Each month we had new products to promote and would receive promotional literature for our sales calls. My boss, Mike, required each of us to record our sales pitch for each product and send him the tapes. At each quarterly sales meeting we were videotaped giving one of the sales pitches for the upcoming quarter and then critiqued.
Later, when I became a sales manager I asked Mike how he found time to review the tapes of all his sales reps because I was having trouble keeping up. He laughed and said, “I threw them in the trash. They weren’t for me, they were for you. I knew if you had to send it to me, you would rehearse it until it was really good. That was all that mattered.”
If you want a good book on the subject pick up Sam Horn’s Got Your Attention. It’s an easy read and full of great ideas to take you from stage fright to pro. She says humans today have a shorter attention span than goldfish–8 seconds verses 9! Ugh!
With that in mind find an intro that will compel someone to listen to more. A few ideas are:
- Ask a question to start
- Set up intrigue with “Did you know…”
- Show emotion; you have to be excited if someone else is going to be
- Show instead of tell; even act out the problem if you can
You may never aspire to giving presentations to thousands; however, you are selling yourself and your business every day. Make it count.