A presentation is really just the art of “giving something to someone.” Simply put, every time we present, we have the opportunity to “gift” information, ideas, challenges, solutions and so on to an audience. How well you do that determines whether it is a powerful presentation and whether it achieves its objectives or not. Winning presentations are one of your most priceless business tools. One of my favourite programmes we offer is Key Steps to Powerful Presentations, where I work with individuals and teams to get them. The past few weeks, it’s almost all I’ve been doing, and it’s been so rewarding to see people debunking myths and taking Key Steps to stand in their own power and…
‘be the difference that makes the difference.’
Here’s the top five myths I see people needing to debunk when it comes to presenting…
- I’m not a public speaker. Reality: We all speak in public. Public speaking goes far beyond standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people. We’re presenting ourselves all the time. In fact, life is one big presentation. Every conversation is an opportunity to influence. Every online meeting is key opportunity to present yourself and your ideas. How do you show up? Learning how to speak and present well are critical skills that EVERYONE needs to have to increase their influence and success.
- Great slides make a great presentation. Reality: There seems to be a common misconception that because “I have PowerPoint and some great slides; I am a speaker who can represent my organisation to others.” This faulty logic has led to a flood of poor presentations that waste time and cost millions in lost sales and productivity.
- I shouldn’t be nervous. Reality: You can control and manage nervousness (breathing and visualisation are great techniques), but you can’t eliminate it. For most of us, the fear of making a presentation never goes away. Even professional speakers get nervous. They just reframe it and know that some nervousness is good. It keeps you dynamic. The goal is to channel nervous energy into a positive performance. Thankfully, this can be learnt.
- I need to be perfect. Reality: Thankfully, you don’t and striving for perfection will just increase your anxiety. Remember that a presentation is not about you showing how great you are but an opportunity to assist your audience and show them how you can add value to them. The presentation is about them, not about you. And remember not to apologise unnecessarily… the audience had no idea what you had planned to say and therefore no idea that you made a ‘mistake’ unless you announce it.
- Cover all your points. Reality: Consider the time frame and adapt your presentation. Give three major points instead of six. Condense your examples. Tell shorter stories. People are more likely to remember what you said if you take this approach instead of trying to squeeze too much into too short a window of time. A rushed and jam-packed presentation often leaves the audience feeling tired and/or overwhelmed. The audience need pauses to give them time to think, process and store in memory what you are saying.
As you imagine presenting yourself this week, what can you relate to and what Key Steps will you take to be the difference that makes the difference.
NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free weekly ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.
Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 25 years’ experience in leadership development and organisational transformation. Her PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that was published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of numerous business schools and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. In 2020, Sharon was inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame, which is a lifetime achievement award, recognising excellence and her contribution to the field.
Sharon is one of only three women in South Africa to have achieved the title of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – the Oscar of the speaking industry. She is also a COMENSA Master Practitioner (CMP), a qualified Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT™) and an accredited Global Virtual Speaker. Sharon is also a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner.
Most important to Sharon is that she has become known for her genuinely caring manner, practical and transformational approach, and for providing valuable tools and that allow people to take Key Steps to really… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’