I do a lot of consulting work and leading seminars teaching people to give more effective, impactful presentations and speeches. Here are a couple of common traits I find in most people who struggle in front of the room:
- They worry about looking stupid.
- They worry about whether the audience will like them or not.
- They worry that they’ll forget what to say.
Those are all common themes that I’ve seen hundreds of times from people at all levels of career success and experience. Here are a few ways to turn those traits around so you can shine in front of the room:
- Focus on what the audience needs and wants from you instead of focusing on yourself.
- Presume the audience will like you and wants you to succeed because the audience does. No one attends a presentation or a speech hoping it stinks because that’s a waste of their time. The audience wants you to succeed. The audience is rooting for you. Make that your mantra.
- Use a simple outline with one or two words that highlights each major area of your talk or presentation. It will give you a safety net to fall back on. The key is to keep it simple and use large font or print. It’s tricky trying to find your place in the middle of a presentation when you look down at a document jam packed with words. It’s easy to find your place when you look at a piece of paper that has more white space than words.
I’ve heard people say they feel like they’re going to die in front of an audience. Those are the same speakers and presenters who spend all of their time trying to get through their presentation. I want you to get into your presentation.
- Get into your audience
- Get into your audience’s needs
- Get into the fact that your audience wants you to shine.
I promise that if you’ll do those things before long you won’t have to worry about whether or not your audience likes you. You’ll have to worry about how to squeeze all of the requests you get to make presentations into your already too busy schedule!