QUESTION – how do I present to win?
THOUGHT – overcome your fear and embrace the opportunity
Preparing and delivering a presentation or pitch – spoken, written or both can be, and many suggest needs to be, very time consuming. Pitching is particularly time consuming and expensive when we consider that winning one in three is a good success rate, and for most, the success rate is lower than this.
Having the skills to present well, both in writing and verbally is central to increasing the success rate and as a result maximising the return on the investment in presentations and pitches. Indeed, a recent survey found that 92% of executives considered presentation skills critical to business success. While this survey specifically addressed verbal presentation skills, there is no doubt that written presentation skills are as important.
On the subject of verbal presentation skills, another survey found that 80% of people in business are frightened of making a presentation, and in my experience, a similar number have good reason to be nervous, because they lack the skills to make an effective presentation – or at least a presentation that will give them the best chance of success.
Features of a good presentation include:
- Presenting with confidence
- Presenting with passion
- Demonstrating target knowledge
- Demonstrating product knowledge
- Delivering a structured argument
- Delivering with authenticity
- Demonstrating audience sensitivity
- Demonstrating the capacity to deliver
This series of THOUGHTS will discuss these and other features in detail.
The fear of presenting can be reduced by:
- Really know your stuff – product knowledge reduces nerves
- Prepare really well – there is no such thing as too much practise
- Really know the audience – identify your audience’s expectations
- Engage your audience in conversation – talk with them not at them
- Be yourself with your own style – don’t mimic others, be authentic
- Take the first 10 seconds to take a deep breath and look people in the eye
- Start with a story rather than a joke – stories are easier and more reliable
In my experience, these strategies will reduce anxiety and help you present better. They will also make your presentations more successful. Also never forget that:
- Experience reduces fear
- A little fear makes for a better presentation
Get over your fear the best way you can and become the best presenter you can. Good presenters will attract more success than poor presenters.
While this THOUGHT focuses on verbal presentations remember that written presentations are just as important – as are excellent written presentation skills. Just saying it is rarely enough
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