Give Presentations Like a Pro Even When You Hate Public Speaking
You might not enjoy it, but leading includes public speaking.
Speaking skills matter when you lead meetings for teams, boards, or the entire company.
You can’t lead without speaking in public.
How to speak like a pro:
#1. Let yourself be seen.
Everyone smells a fake. If you’re nervous, acknowledge it. Don’t circle the topic, but acknowledge it and move on.
Declare your noble heart. Look beyond fear, complaint, or worry. Talk about courageous aspirations.
Share what you’re learning from failure. Be open with personal growth. How has failure shaped you? Made you better?
Rule: Never whine or complain about your failure.
We love leaders who are real.
#2. Brag a lot.
- Imperfect team members.
- Imperfect teams.
- Imperfect progress.
If you have the gift of faultfinding, cork it.
Brag about others when you’re tempted to brag about yourself. Every time you feel like seeking credit, give credit. Every time you want the spotlight, shine it on someone.
We love leaders who love us.
#3. Touch hearts.
Effective public speaking goes beyond facts and figures. How do you want people to feel after you’re done speaking?
Content and style are controlled by the feelings you want to ignite.
Facts, figures, and information are permission to get in the game, but feelings help you win.
- How do you want people to feel about themselves?
- How do you want people to feel about each other?
- How do you want people to feel about the future?
Tie information to stories that touch the imagination and stir the heart. Once the mind is satisfied, emotion drives decisions.
We love leaders who make us feel something.
Powerful content is rooted in solutions to frustrations. What frustrates you?
Turn frustration into solution and give it to your audience.
What public speaking tips do you have for leaders who hate public speaking?
What a God given message. Today is my first day preaching a message from stage at my church. While knowing this is exciting as all get out. I’m still nervous, this has given me peace. Thank you.
Thanks Alejandro. Best wishes on your first preaching from stage. I always get nervous. I’m in North Dakota right now, soon to be on stage. My stomach hurts. 🙂
I have found that there is great truth in the axiom “the knowledge is in the room”. Whether you are making a presentation or leading a meeting, it is important to acknowledge those present may have the information already stemming from their own experience and just need the opportunity to share it. You may also find the information that is forthcoming is actually better suited to the topic than what you had prepared. All this to say – ask lots of questions about how the topic resonates, what do they think, why, etc. Empowering others is the key to a great presentation and to leadership in general.
Thanks Jo Ann, I used to think that the people wanted me to talk. But they also love to talk…and they love to talk to each other.
Every year I do a presentation on all the data I collect as a cancer registrar to the administration and physicians. Every year I struggle with “how do I make this presentation more interesting?” In other words, not so boring!!! I like your advice to acknowledge your nervousness, and I can feel it and hear it in my voice when I first start, but how do you acknowledge that so the audience has confidence in your data?
Great question, Kathleen. It doesn’t sound like your nervous about your data, just about being boring.
You want to do the data justice. Just speak the truth. It’s a little nerve wracking to present this material because it’s so important and you want to make it interesting. But you’re excited to contribute to the conversation.
Just a thought. Best wishes.
I am the Quality Assurance Manager for an audit group, and I get to present data like this all the time. One of my responsibilities is to track where the problem areas are and how wide spread they are, and then report that information quarterly.
I start by giving my audience the WIIFM (what’s in it for me): I know these numbers are dry and maybe even a little overwhelming when presented like this. The bottom line is we got better/worse overall, and I am here to show you some areas where we are all struggling and also provide suggestions on how we can do better.
Then I get into the data, drilling down into the details from the overall numbers. I also try to find interesting quotes for each section, to help break up the data.
Regardless of the topic and content, make every speech from the heart!
Dan this is brilliant, thank you. When I’m delivering presentation training, I get people to think about KFD. What do you want your audience to Know, how do you want them to Feel and what do you want your audience to Do. However you’ve helped me unpack the ‘Feel’ part of KFD so much more, and I’ll definitely be weaving this into my next training. Wise words Dan – very grateful to you for sharing them.
If you are using visual aids, keep these three points in mind.
When I facilitate workshops (which is an INSANE amount of public speaking), I ask my sponsor (and myself) three things:
“At the end of this, what do you want your participants to leave with in their:
1) Head (knowledge)
2) Heart (Feeling)
3) Hands (Product)”
I think this works for any public speaking. If you can be clear with your intent on those three areas, the rest will come pretty easy :-).
Good article today 😉
I can remember my first public speaking moment vividly. I was so nervous. I was 23 years old and was just hired on a new construction project as the safety manager. Although I had studied and worked in the field for some years, this was my first time to assume this level of responsibility, not to mention how young I was. It was my first Monday morning safety meeting and all eyes were on me. My little brother and little cousin were in the crowd somewhere, and I knew they were probably nervous for me as well. As I looked out at all 347 construction workers glaring back at me waiting impatiently to hear whatever pseudo-wisdom I might have to offer, I sucked it up and just started going with it. There was no escaping my fate. This is what I asked for. Embracing the moment can be difficult but once it is embraced we can accomplish great things. Much like the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), speaking in public, especially to new crowds, are moments in life leaders must learn to deal with. It is essentially our jobs in a nutshell. We must speak. What good are we if we don’t? I suppose my approach is a bit more alpha than the answer you were probably seeking, but for myself I find that just pushing through it works best.
Love the response from garrytulane about “just pushing through.” \My suggestions to anyone I mentor always begins with the need to be authentic; i.e. yourself not a copy of anyone else. Recognize that your main role is to help members in your audience, whether those be clients or fellow team members. To do that well you need to put in time to research their needs and to use language that suits them . Clarity helps to breed confidence. Be clear about your purpose to speak and humble enough to realize that you are not perfect .You are though given this wonderful opportunity, scarey though it may be to educate, inspire, encourage. Be grateful. Positively, Pauline
Know your audience. I work for community based stakeholders who may or may not have the same level of education I’ve been exposed to. So in prep, I try to get to know who I am presenting to so I don’t talk over their heads. Depending on the audience, I try to relate early on by a small joke or relatable personal story. The story helps show that I once sat in their seat. I look forward to public speaking when I know the material and who I am presenting it to. A little homework during prep can help ease the tension of public speaking.
You must believe in and be moved by your content. Think of the audience as the person sitting across from you over coffee, and have that conversation.
Good Morning Dan enjoyed reading the post. Public speaking is my worst enemy and I do not understand why. I am not shy at all and have no problem talking to anyone but for some reason whenever you put me in front of more than ten people I feel uncomfortable and start to talk fast. It does not matter if this is in front of a room of complete strangers or at my family reunion. No matter how prepared I am with the material I get nervous. It is not to a point that I cannot present or professionally convey the message but you can tell I am uncomfortable being up there. I recognize the importance and how public speaking is a great influential tool to possess. So much so that I have taken public-speaking classes to help improve my skills, which I would recommend to anyone especially the Toast Masters seminars.
Great advise about instead of bragging on yourself brag about a coworker or the team. I love this and it actually pays off more than, if you are a glory hog. When I hear leaders bragging about their team I find myself with a deep respect for that person. On the other hand, when I hear someone only talking about himself or herself I find myself rolling my eyes.