Ever had a bunch of work stuff to do and then school is cancelled? You have to either change your plans or try and work from home and multi-task to get stuff done. Well here in frigid Minneapolis that very thing happened today so I am juggling work stuff and a chatty kid who won’t stop talking! I wouldn’t wish it any other way though. I would much rather have her open with me than quiet and not sharing what’s going on in her life. She definitely has the gift of gab in the right situations.
Most of us are the same way and you probably are too. When you’re around the right people and in comfortable circumstances you can talk and share all day long. But as soon as you are forced into a scenario where you are put on the spot or not confident in what you have to say, it’s easy to shut down. In fact research shows that more people say they would rather DIE than have to speak in public. That’s a serious problem when so much of what happens in our work life requires some level of speaking confidence.
So why do we fear it so much? Discomfort sends our bodies and brains into the fight or flight stress response that causes elevated heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and perspiration. It causes the flushed and blotchy red face, neck and chest that many of us get when we are nervous. It gives us insomnia and headaches. And while we may wish we had diarrhea of the mouth when speaking in public, the stress response often causes the other less desirable form that keeps us near the bathroom. Those symptoms aren’t pleasant and because humans avoid pain at all costs, we associate the symptoms with the speaking – and want to avoid both…at all costs!
I want to help you be more confident when you have to present in public. Whether you give presentations at work or lead meetings or simply interact at networking or social events, there are some tools and tips that can help you own any stage you are on…so let’s get to it. And if you or your team need some extra help with speaking or presentations let’s talk. I do presentation training and bootcamps to power up your sales calls, meetings, leader speeches, and networking strategies.
- You are not alone. When all eyes are on you it feels lonely even though you are in a room of people. Remember they are there to support you and WANT to hear what you have to say. They want to see you successful and do a good job. Use their good vibes and energy to give you comfort and confidence.
- Plan ahead. Stressful situations create major physical symptoms that are made worse by lack of sleep, alcohol, caffeine, etc. The night before you have to present avoid alcohol and get enough sleep. The morning of your presentation eat something that you know is predictable in your stomach and don’t suck down too much coffee or eat or drink anything new.
- Be organized. Know what you’re going to say and have a plan. Don’t wing it – very few people can do this successfully. Know what power stories or case studies you will tell and how they will tie to the information you are sharing.
- Ask questions. Don’t just stand up there and preach. No one wants to listen to someone go on and on. BORING! Ask questions, encourage sharing, give the audience topics of conversation to share with their neighbor or table. Then use the audience for examples which actually takes the pressure off of you to fill all the time with your own content.
- Encourage action. Don’t just spout off information without giving a call to action. What should they do next? What’s their timeline? How should they do it? Don’t be a spewer who leaves them hanging.
TALK TO ME: For the next week every time you’re in a situation where you are in a conversation of any type as a presenter, leader, or in social situations, notice the way you feel in your body. Are there things you could do to be more calm in your thoughts or consistent in your physical habits so you know what to expect when you’re talking? How can you be more confident by being better prepared? What can you do to be more engaging and getting the audience involved instead of just regurgitating information, data, or plans? Now share with me – what can you do to take action on the areas where you notice you could improve?
TAKE ACTION: Ready to help your team power up their presentations? Let’s chat about creating a customized program that’s fun, memorable, and ACTIONABLE! Kristen is a business and lifestyle futurist who spent 15 years in corporate marketing and sales leadership roles working with Fortune 500 clients around the world. She can help your team drive growth too. Visit KristenBrownPresents.com to check your date availability and learn more.