Meetings, seminars, quarterly report presentations, and on-site trainings are among the times leadership must step up to the mike and present information. It is often a stressful time for many leaders and managers here in Alabama. Public speaking ranks high in the anxiety department for everyone. Even the most polished presenters are a little nervous before the first words are spoken. It seems no matter the amount of presentation experience, every single one of us gets “butterflies” when we walk up to the podium. Fear and worry are natural reactions.
Dale Carnegie of Alabama offers five strategies for presentation excellence:
- Be prepared: Know the subject well. Research and a little homework go a long way to build both confidence and credibility.
- Practice: The most important step is being an expert with the subject, and staying on time. Practice pauses, be conversational, and share the speech with family and friends for feedback. Read the notes in front of a mirror and keep tweaking the copy for effectiveness. Make an outline and stick to it. Every presentation has a beginning, middle and a conclusion. Stay on track.
- Focus and breathe before walking up to the front: Relax and begin with a short story or idea that sets the tone for the rest of the presentation.
- Manage the adrenaline: Using energy in a positive manner makes a difference.
- Engage and involve: Making eye contact and assessing the audience gets the presenter and the group involved. Remember there will be as many people taking notes as there will be yawners out there. Don’t take anything personally, and have fun presenting good information to people who really need and want it.
Formal and informal presentations are very important aspects of good leadership. Being a polished professional in these situations helps to build trust, increase reputation, get exposure from senior leadership, and gain additional opportunities to grow in credibility. Center stage is often a place where a little nervousness goes a long way. Whether the topic is to persuade or inform, educate or involve; organizational messages engage employees and build relationships. There is a lot on the line when up at the podium, but it is all worth it. Winning friends and influencing people are paramount to business success. Good presentations make everyone a shareholder in opportunity.
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This post is shared with you to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Alabama, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Huntsville, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @DaleCarnegieALA.
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