A recent survey showed that, when people were questioned on their most dreaded experience, the fear of speaking in public showed higher than more common fears like flying in aeroplanes, fear of spiders and insects, dread of heights.
Yet presentation skills can be extremely useful in many normal business situations, and even some social ones.
We take the view that presentational skills are one of the most valuable leadership skills you can acquire, and this workshop will focus throughout on building presentational skills in the delegates in as painless a fashion as possible.
This section covers the whole area of making presentations and looks at the qualities required.
Benefits of presentation skills
The following are some of the benefits of competence in presentational skills
• confidence in running (and chairing) practice meetings • better communication skills in everyday meetings
• better explanations to patients
• increased confidence (and success) in selling
• ability to speak to local groups for promotional purposes • giving a vote of thanks in local groups
Preparation and presentation
The two most important things to remember in making presentations are:
• Preparation: choose your material carefully, rehearse and build up your confidence. At the start give yourself plenty of time to make sure you know what you are talking about.
• Presentation: the style of your presentation is the key to whether people remember it and you. It is less what you say and more how you say it.
Most people feel anxiety about given a presentation, which is largely based on the fear of failing.
To combat these fears we need to identify exactly what our fear is. The first stage is to list what you consider are your worst fears.
List below your fears.
How can all these fears be lessened or overcome?
Use of voice
Most people talk too quietly. Speak louder than you would for carrying on a conversation with the person in the back row. Speak UP to give an impression of authority and enthusiasm.
A poor and nervous speaker will use a dreary monotone. Varying the pitch will add life to your talk. Emphasise points by sharp increases in volume, or by decreasing volume to invite careful listening.
There is a great tendency to talk too quickly, especially if you are quiet. Speak more slowly than you would in everyday conversation. It will give your audience valuable time to reflect on what you say. You will benefit by having more time to think - you will also feel more confident.
One of the most effective tools at your disposal. Pause to dramatise or emphasise the point you have just made - or are about to make. A good pause should be longer than you think necessary.
Be sure to dress appropriately for the occasion. Not conforming to your audience's expectations can disadvantage you.
Make use of your hands and arms, and make your gestures confident and bold. Whether you are sitting or standing, don’t fidget with hands or pencils. If your hands embarrass you, put them easily behind your back for the first few moments. When you have got into your stride, start using them to emphasise points.
Avoid shifting from foot to foot, swaying or walking about.
It is better to stand, facing the audience, feet slightly apart, arms bent at the elbow.
Avoid distracting mannerisms, such as adjusting your notes, fidgeting from one foot to the other, folding and unfolding your arms, running your hands through your hair, etc.
Mannerisms are very obvious to the audience, not so obvious to yourself.
You will never gain the attention of the audience...