Presenting was a nightmare for me when I was a lot younger and so I would have added “dry throat” to the title of Judy Apps book although that might have made the title a bit long! I went on all of the courses, practiced with cards, and it was only when I went on an NLP course that things fell into place for me.
What will it take to make you a better presenter?
You might say I don’t need it, but that is unlikely, as there are so many times you might need it.
- Going for that first job or even worse going for your first job after 20 years
- Presenting a business case to a new customer
- Running a project within your company
OK, so you don’t need it for your job, but how about when you are best man/lady at a wedding or you are the key players at your own wedding!
So I strongly recommend you buy Judy Apps book “Butterflies and Sweaty Palms” and here are a few reasons why.
One survey in 1993 asked people about the things of which nightmares are made and they mentioned the fear of heights, deep water, insects, death and much else besides. But the most common fear of all was speaking before a group (even before death!)
The important question is not “How do you get rid of fear?” but rather, “How do you learn to perform so that fear doesn’t inhibit your performance?” or even “How do you perform so that it enhances your performance?”
For great performers there is no thing as the perfect performance. Each individual time is different; each one is the way it is; each one is the creation of this time; each one is this one. It is not a time to be a perfectionist. When I was learning with my cards I would look at them afterwards and berate myself for missing vital points, but that is not what it is all about.
What are the two or three key memories that your audience is going to take away with them is what matters
A lot of energy can be wasted with worrying. Our imagination cannot deal with negatives. So it is vital to transfer fear into excitement. The psychotherapist Fritz Perls would tell people ”When you are scared, just breathe a little and it’ll turn to excitement”.
Presenting is just communication – and you have been communicating all your life. Great presenters have a wonderful ability to be at ease in their own skin in any situation and through being themselves they are able to make their audience feel comfortable and engaged. There are ways of staying in the present (being in the present and aware in the moment) read Chapter 4 or spend a couple of hours with me learning and practicing the techniques.
Preparation is the key to a successful presentation whether it is you being in the desired state, fully aware of the location, breathing properly, having a real sense of purpose and getting your message across with passion. Passion is a vital energy source. If you are passionate about what you have to say it becomes imbued with a powerful aliveness which draws the listener in.
Making friends with your audience by being yourself and not taking yourself too seriously is important. Looking at your audience individually, creating a connection and tuning into their mood and pacing their level of energy and way of being, is also important.
What I like about this book is that it is really easy to read and practice some of the exercises with. Further resources can be found on www.voiceofinfluence.co.uk
Similarly, I try and keep it simple when I coach people for interviews or making presentations.