Love the idea of presenting? Or scared to death of it? Want to give it a go but don’t know where to start?
We see this all the time with people who don’t present very often, or do, but still hate it. In the world of work, we typically have to present all the time and some people are just naturals. But rest assured, even the most polished presenters had to find a style that works for them and then they keep working at it.
Most of us want to communicate with our teams but keep putting it to the bottom of our list – the usual excuse is “I’ve got too many other things to do” but as a leader (or even if you’re not) communicating with people is fundamental to your success. A lot of the time we find it comes down to people being worried about not doing it well or not knowing how to do it.
Leaders often get given materials or briefing documents to support their communications and companies can’t understand why people still don’t communicate with their people. Watching TED talks and seeing seasoned professionals present doesn’t always help – yes you can get some good ideas from those people but actually they sometimes just instil more fear. It can turn the volume up on your internal monologue telling you “I can never be as good as that”.
Different strokes for different folks
We say: forget what everyone else does and focus on finding your own style. Some people are funny, some sing, some tell stories, others like to be more interactive. Some get straight to the point and others are great at delivering inspirational words they have prepared. And some of the best sessions we’ve seen are where people bring other team members in who are the expert in that area and the presenter is your host. You’ll hear people talk about the different styles of presenter and you might be just one or a combination of a few styles. But at the end of the day we are all different and that’s ok.
The most important thing is to actually do it. Here are our top tips to find a presentation style that works for you…
People know when you are being yourself, don’t try to be someone you’re not. Be proud of who you are and play to your strengths.
Make it sustainable
Presenting and communicating shouldn’t be a one-off thing you need to talk to your teams, colleagues (and everyone) on a regular basis. Finding what works for you means you can do it over and over again.
Ask for help
When you are trying to find your style, the best thing to do is ask for help – from your coach, your boss, your peers, your friends. It needs to be someone who can challenge you to think about your strengths or someone who knows you really well (or both). They can help guide and shape how you present.
Like with anything, the best way to get better at something is to ask people for feedback on your presentation – what worked well, what didn’t (remember get them to be specific) – and always ask people who will give you honest feedback!
Practice, practice, practice
Ok so super obvious, but so many people don’t practice or think about what they will say. Carve out some time to think about how you’ll share a message, what will be interesting for the people you are talking to and how to use a style that works for you.
Our main piece of advice though would be to just give it a go. Because we all know, the more you practice the better you get.