It's the line you dread hearing ... especially if you are just starting out in your industry or if you are new to entrepreneurship ...
"So ... tell me what it is you do!"
It's not that you do not love what you do or that you do not want to share your professional passion. The challenge is you have not narrowed down exactly how to make this critical 30-second presentation in a succinct fashion so it doesn't put your listener to sleep or doesn't have you rambling.
Use this 4-part approach every time you pitch yourself or your business, and you make it very clear to your listener what you do, the results you bring your clients, how you're different from your competitors, and how your're on your way (or already there!) to the top floor!
You have prepared for what you believe is a killer presentation. You have your technology ready. You have picked the perfect setting. You are ready to make this live remote presentation one for the history books.
Okay. Perhaps that's a bit melodramatic; however, you get my point. You have invested time, energy, and research in designing a meaningful session to deliver to an audience of listeners who are located all over the country -- possibly around the globe. However, full calendars and busy lives can preclude your target audience from attending the session live, and you have more who opt to catch the recording at a later date that's more convenient for them.
While you can understand and respect those realities, it does nothing to make you feel better about preparing to present a live web-based presentation or a synchronous class session, right?
A friend and colleague once shared with me people make time for what's important to them. End of story. So with that, let's identify three ways you can make your session important to your prospective audience, so everyone's not putting it off until a later date but is showing up live and ready.
Um. So I am going to like tell you a little about a challenge in speaking that is sorta like a big issue. But like most people are like super annoyed by it. And ... um ... well ... I can understand why because it's sorta like a problem when it comes to - you know - sounding well like credible.
Now that I've sufficiently tortured you, let's cut to the chase.
Filler words, also called verbal segregates, are a part of everyday speech. We hear professionals use them ... even anchors and reporters use them. We use them all the time, and it's not that the mere use of them is a bad thing; it's problematic when you use them too often, which can weaken your message and, as a result, incredibly diminish your credibility. A repeated use of them makes you sound unsure and makes you look less confident.
It is not recommended that you completely eliminate all filler words from your vocabulary as you will learn in the first suggestion below. In all honesty, (and yes, that phrase is one of my fillers!), the use of filler words makes you sound human! Therefore, you have to decide how many of them is too many to have and use, which ones you want to eliminate, then how to go about doing just that. And this post has you covered on all fronts so your credibility is no longer getting crushed but is instead rock solid. Let's do this!
Everyone, I want you to look at a presentation this way: even if you know only 10% of what there is to know about a topic on which you are presenting, for the most part, that is inextricably more than what your audience knows about the topic. That right there should make your chest stick out at least an inch!
View yourself as the expert, and think that way before and throughout your presentation. It will build you up, and it helps reduce anxiety and lessen your worries about judgment. And another attitude to consider when working to get rid of your nerves and to boost your confidence is if people want to be so judgmental, then they should get up in the front of the room and try to do what you are doing. (Yes. There was some attitude there, but ... well ... that's simply my view on the matter.)
Do you recall that time you were totally psyched and jazzed about a presentation after you read the title and description of the presentation, both of which sounded down-right delicious?
You were ready.
Could not wait!
You thought, "This is going to be a winner! For sure!"
And then ...
The presentation starts, and you feel let-down. It's like cutting into that amazing piece of fruit you scored at the local market only to take a bite that tastes ... well ... you know ... not so great.
You cannot put your finger on why the presentation is seemingly lackluster and why you have lost your motivation to listen. But what you do know is the impact of the presentation has been lessened, and it happened within the first few minutes. It made you think, "Whatever that was, if I ever present, I want to make sure I never do it!"
I will tell you exactly what happened and, most importantly, four steps to ensure you avoid it.
Oftentimes, we may think the bigger the opportunity, the greater possibility for mistakes to happen. Speaking in front of a group of 20 or even 200 can feel comfortable and completely natural, but what do you do when that audience increases 10-, 20-, or 50-fold? Do your nerves reciprocate? Are the challenges now insurmountable? Not so.
Granted, a different approach is necessary for larger audiences for your message to effectively reach everyone; however, with these four considerations, you will be able to master your message and deliver it with distinction regardless of the multitude of listeners before you.
Does this sound like you?
"I have so much information to cover until I don't know where to start, what to do, or how to do it!"
"My presentations are pretty good, but I want them to be great! I need a systematic plan so I'm not just going through the motions, muddling through."
"What will make a difference with my audience?! What will draw them in, and - and most importantly!!! - what will get everyone to buy what I'm selling?!"
What you must know is it is entirely possible to make your presentation an enjoyable and worthwhile experience for both you and your audience without it being more work for yourself.
Here are the four steps you take to smoothly make your way through preparing for your presentations with grace, determination, excitement, passion, and enthusiasm. Make this a consistent practice - resolve this is what you will do every time you prepare a presentation - and you will joyfully break free of the presentation preparation nightmare and cut your prep work by 50%.
Adequate communication skills are necessary for any successful business owner, but knowing what steps you can take to improve is often difficult and challenging.
In this blog post, we’ve compiled three simple practices that can make a significant difference in your day-to-day communications. Whether you use them while writing e-mails or put them to work during your next quarterly presentation, focusing on these three practices will help you communicate more clearly in the future.
Most people have quirks when they present. And I'm sure, although I have put forth great effort to be aware of quirks and eliminate them, I have one, or two, or three, or ...
As a matter of fact, I recall several years back I collaborated with a friend and colleague to facilitate a workshop in the Denver area, and his use of the phrase "what-not" apparently catches my attention because I did not realize it until after the workshop and while reading one participant's feedback on her survey that I had picked up on his use of that phrase and had incorporated it into the last two sessions I presented at the workshop! She had actually sat and counted the number of times I had used it! *gasp* (And to be honest, I recalled, while I was presenting, seeing this particular person in the audience snickering at times that were obviously out of context. It was all starting to come together ... LOL!)
But ... OMG! I could not believe it! In retrospect, I had caught the "what-not" bug and was using the phrase like crazy! I had never done that before! (At least I do not recall doing so!) My colleague's use of it subconsciously caused me to use it!
This is what happened: We converge with interlocutors that we like or that we want to like us. This colleague who is also a friend and is one with whom I have a great professional relationship, so based on this phonetic and social selectivity, it was natural I would pick up on one of his catch phrases and use it myself or that I would ... converge with an interlocutor!
As I thought about the workshop and this participant's feedback, I could not help but to wonder (and worry!) if her focus on counting my "what-not's" interfered with her actual learning. I wondered if my temporary presentation misstep consumed her and subsequently caused her to lose an opportunity to learn. What had I done?!
The greatest goal of any presentation is to ensure learning takes place and that participants take action based on what they learn, so I got to thinking ... What plans can I put in place beforehand to provide my audiences with the most awesome learning experience possible? I came up with three ideas.
A number of BMcHAWK TALKS blog posts have encouraged you to get audience members/students/learners engaged as soon as possible. I have been shouting from the front of rooms and computer screens to anyone who will listen, "Move them from passive to active audience members fast!
And a few brave colleagues have asked "Uh ... so ... Bridgett, how do you do that?" I should have seen that one coming, right?
Here are some of my favorite ways to get the audience involved so it's not a chalk-and-talk or a sit-and-get session. They require virtually no preparation, and you can easily and expertly insert them into any presentation or class session at any time when you
1. need everyone to truly think about and process what you said;
2. sense a lull; or
3. know you have been talking too much and it's time for everyone to hear another voice.
And with each technique, I provide you with additional ways to adjust and take the technique up a notch. Enjoy!