1. Practice makes perfect. A number of years ago I joined Toastmasters which is a great way to (a) practice your “public speaking” skills, (b) get feedback about how to improve those skills and (c) also learn about running very efficient meetings! Like almost anything in life, the more you speak in front of a group the better you will get.
2. Preparation is critical. Flying by the seat of your pants is not a good idea … and in my experience the more preparation you put into a presentation the better it will go. Don’t be fooled by those few people who make it look easy … either they are incredibly rare, they did a ton of preparation you were not aware of or they have talked on that subject before (and hence did the prep then)!
3. Know when to say no! Sometimes you are not the right person … if you are not comfortable getting up in front and being the “knowledgeable person” talking on the subject then you might want to consider passing.
4. Any kind of presentation requires (a) an opening (that gets the audience attention); (b) the body of the presentation, that imparts the information; and (c) a summary or conclusion that wraps it all together and drives home your key points. This is the same with most communication … a sales call, a letter or even a more formal email! Tell them what you are going to say, say it and tell them what you said!
Even the most outgoing people can have trouble getting up in front of a group, do yourself a favour and invest in some training!
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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