So I wanted to tell you about my journey to presentation success.
After presenting to many different groups on various topics, and having to overcome many a crippling dose of nerves, I realised that the key to “buying” my audience is always the same:
1. To break down any barriers between me and my audience.
2. To connect with them emotionally.
The idea is to use a story (the funny ones work really well) or joke to introduce or illustrate whichever point you’re making.
Once I had told my first crazy story (that had actually happened to me and was a guaranteed conversation-starter at parties), I realised I had made it – I had broken the ice and made my audience laugh. They were focussed on me and me alone. I had even conquered their urge to look at their phones! Now that they were “with me”, they were far more open to my message (and many commented later on how much they enjoyed, and learned from it.)
So, for those of us to whom crazy storytelling doesn’t come naturally – how do we get over this hurdle to become entertainer-presenters?
It’s easy. Pretend that you’re out for coffee with a few of your closest friends, and that you can’t wait to tell them the craziest thing that happened to you today. (Don’t try that trick where you imagine your audience naked – trust me; it doesn’t work.)
Then you tell them. With lots of eye contact with different audience members. With exaggerated body language for the really funny/weird bits. While you walk/stalk/strut the stage; really owning it (go ahead – channel Freddie Mercury; he was a master at this!)
There’s nothing like telling a great story to emotionally “connect” with your audience. This connection is Essential Ingredient Number One for a successful presentation – and the result will boost your confidence for the next time..and the next..