Good news, you’ve been invited to present! Now what?
Being invited to speak on a panel or present at a conference is a huge professional compliment and an excellent opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise. BUT, what if you’re new to presenting in front of any audience?
Recently a colleague called me after a leadership session because he felt he needed help in communication. When I asked him what issues he was having, he responded “Everything!”! If this sounds familiar, you know what I mean. Perhaps you’re feeling a little rusty, or you’re just plain nervous. Maybe, you feel your nerves will even distract from your message.
Hint: If you want to deliver a compelling and memorable presentation that connects with your audience, the key lies in your preparation.
So, how should you prepare? Try this:
1. Expect the unexpected
Whether that’s a change of theme at the last minute, the tech goes sideways, or the room set up is different than expected- your ability to comfortably and quickly pivot can make all the difference!
2. Own the room
How do you get everyone’s attention when you’re presenting?
Leaders often ask me this question! “Everyone’s on their phone” they say, or people tend to chat with each other.
THEN, what happens when you’ve forgotten whatever you planned to say?
Try these three tips to help you own the room and command attention:
3. Rehearse the Q&A
Are you hesitant about how you’ll handle questions? Leaders often fear the Q&A, but I find it helps to think of it as a conversation, rather than an interrogation. To prepare, brainstorm 3-5 potential questions your audience could ask and prepare your responses.
Now, keep two questions in your back pocket, just in case you need them. If no one asks anything, or if questions are slow to start, pull one of the other 3 questions out. You can either ask the audience the question or say “People often ask whether… (continue with your question). This works well because either a) someone in the audience will respond or b) you can answer it yourself.
Of course, another perspective is always helpful. If possible, gather feedback from a trusted colleague or mentor to identify any potential gaps.
See you next time!
Want to improve your presentation and communication skills in just 60 minutes?
My 1:1 coaching and client workshop will help you get your message across confidently and clearly, learn how to prepare effectively and conquer the jitters. If you’d like to hear more, send me an email or give me a call: 714.833.6797.