In the world of PR, people are asked to present online or in person all the time. Just thinking about it can make our palms sweat and our hearts race as the nerves kick in. Let’s face it; public speaking can be daunting, yet it is an essential skill to conquer if we want to progress in our careers.
Whenever we deliver a presentation to a small or large group of people – internally or externally – there will be objectives to meet. This might be to convey information and share our expertise, change the way someone behaves, or alter perceptions.
If we fail to do this confidently our audience will not be engaged or respond in the way we want them to. Unfortunately, the more we worry about being nervous, the more anxious we become before and during our presentation.
Standing in front of people is like being on stage
Like actors, we are giving a performance and have an audience in front of us critiquing our every word and movement. People are judging us even before we have opened our mouths.
This link with the acting world means we can learn from performers to ensure stage fright does not scupper our efforts to be a good communicator in a business or social environment.
Actors train for years to use their body and voice effectively. They are aware of their body language, and their voice tone and articulation. They also breathe differently to calm their nerves and have mastered memory techniques to banish fears that they will fluff their lines. You do not see an actor go on stage holding their script. They will have rehearsed, but they also trust their knowledge of their subject.
If we are asked to present at work it is usually because we are an expert in what we do. Unfortunately, if we rely too heavily on notes or tools such as PowerPoint or are not aware of our voice and body during our presentation, we will fail to connect with our audience.
Top tips for giving an engaging and powerful presentation:
Get these things right and people will enjoy listening to you rather than feeling embarrassed for you as you struggle to present. You never know… you might even enjoy the whole experience.
Written by Lucy Morgans, creative director at training and coaching consultancy Hendrix Training