At some point in our career we all have to make a presentation. Generally speaking the more senior we get the more presentations we make and the more important they are. However many people dread making presentations. This is where Executive Coaching can serve to build your skill and impact.
Most actors say that it is good to have some nerves when going on stage – it keeps them sharp. The same applies to a presentation; being a bit nervous makes you better. However if your nerves are so on edge that you don’t get your message across this is where coaching can help you.
There are numerous causes of presentation nerves and in Executive Coaching the key is to find out what it is that is causing you to feel the way that you do. We have found in our Executive Coaching Practice that some of the reasons given include
- A fear of looking stupid
- Worry about looking hesitant and lacking in confidence
- Getting found out for a lack of knowledge or expertise
- Worried about the impact of a poor presentation on career
- Concern that an important proposal will not be accepted
- Concern that there will be a bad reaction from the audience to an idea or plan
These are just some of the reasons that our coaching clients have come to us for help on making an effective presentation. If these, or something similar is a concern to you please contact us and see how we can help you.
Preparing a Presentation
Here are some key tips for preparing a presentation. All of these will help you improve your presentation.
- Make sure you know how long the presentation is expected to last. You can assume that each slide you use will take 2 minutes.
- Remember at most people can concentrate for around 15 minutes on one person talking at them. So consider ways in which you can break your presentation up and invite some audience participation
- Let your audience know at the start the purpose of the presentation – what do you want to achieve? Also explain at the start the benefit of your presentation for audience (this will help engage them)
- Never apologise for being nervous – this makes the audience feel very uncomfortable. They will forgive any presentation nerves anyway
- Do not use slides as your script – this just sends your audience to sleep
- Practice, practice and practice your presentation. Do it out aloud. Do it in front of the mirror or do it in front of friends. This allows you to get your words right and to time the presentation accurately. Most importantly when it comes to the day it means you are familiar with your presentation because you have already done it several times.
- Do not be fooled, the best presenters do not have a natural talent for it. They rehearse their presentations continually
- Leave time for audience questions – this is where you can overcome any concerns about your ideas or proposals
Remember a few nerves are a good thing. If you follow the tips here you will be able to turn up on the day feeling confident and give a good strong presentation
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