For many people, presenting and public speaking can feel as scary as Halloween.
As we approach Halloween, households all over the world have begun preparations. Huge trays and tubs are being filled with sweets. Pumpkins are being strategically placed by front doors.
I’m also getting ready for the frenzy. Last year our door bell was pounded by extremely imaginative young witches, goblins and ghouls.
It seems that the imagination of parents and children reaches new heights each year at Halloween.
Thankfully, Halloween is only an annual event
Unlike the perceived terror that countless people face every day in business presentations and public speaking.
Halloween aside, presenting and public speaking really doesnt have to be such a frightening ordeal. The following suggestions will go a long way to helping you:
1. They want a treat too
I’ve never opened the door to a 6 year old on Halloween who knocked with the intention of tricking me.
Everyone wants a treat.
That’s why they went to the trouble of dressing up and made it all the way to your front door.
Your audience is the same, they want a treat from you too.
That’s your first priority; to see them as friends rather than foes that have arrived at your front door. Your purpose is to make the experience a treat.
What does a public speaking treat look and feel like:
– Energy and enthusiam
– Empathy and understanding
– Focused exclusively on the needs of your audience
– Insights, ideas and information they can’t just ‘Google’ for themselves
– Genuine smiles and mindful eye contact
– Content rich
– Keeping it short and sweet
– Getting straight to the point
2. Leave the lights on
For some, Halloween is the annual ritual of pulling the blinds down, turning off the lights off and watching television with the volume turned down. Many people approach presenting and public speaking in largely the same way.
We owe it to our audience to turn the light on and make it as bright as possible.
That means walking up with a smile, a purposeful stride and a mind and body that says I’m here to brighten your day. The best way to do that is to be very clear at the outset what your intention is.
That means having absolute clarity on how you want them to feel
Once you have that intention clear in your mind, hold it there. In other words, whatever you want your audience to feel, you have to feel yourself first.
Hold that feeling and image at the forefront of your mind as you craft and deliver every aspect of your presentation. Tell your voice and body exactly how you want your audience to feel before you utter a word.
3. Get dressed up
For many of those scary 6 year olds knocking at your door on Halloween, the best part of the event is the preparation. They are already crystal clear about their intention as they arrive on your doorstep. They want to scare you and so they meticulously craft every aspect of their approach with that in mind.
When it comes to presenting we have to adopt exactly the same attitude. I don’t mean that we set out to scare our audience.
I means dressing for the occasion
Dressing for the occasion extends way beyond our attire.
We have to create content which supports our intention. A well-dressed presentation filled with mindful intention will contain 3 critical elements.
Exhibits & props
Thought provoking questions
The big picture
What difference will your presentation make to your audience’s lives.
How will what you have to say make their lives better, easier, happier or positively different.
It’s a mindset
Some people see Halloween as a stressful event. Others look at it as an expeience to immerse themselves in and enjoy.
As strange a comparison as it may appear; halloween and public speaking share some common ground.
If you approach presenting and public speaking as a fearful experience, it’s likely that is exactly what it will be.
If you reframe your mind to see it as an opportunity to make a difference to your audience, your experience changes completely.
Give your audience a treat, leave the lights on and get dressed up for them.
If you find public speaking and presenting a little scary and need some help:
– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.
– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.
– Get yourself some excellent presentation training
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If this article has inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are you may want to take a look at our presentation training and public speaking coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.
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