Presenting a subject you know well shouldn’t be that hard. Yet …
I’ve seen business professionals who know their subject cold, shake as they start a presentation to their Board. I’ve watched leaders and managers blank out even though in rehearsal they knew exactly what they were doing. I’ve watched teachers who connect day-to-day, lose total focus when the principal sits in to observe. I’ve watched successful sales people look like they’re having an outer body experience when it’s a “big” presentation.
Yet… beyond knowing your stuff (Tip: don’t dishonor anyone by wasting their time if you don’t) and practicing (Tip: talking off the cuff is never the place to be talking from) and presenting content in a customer-centric way (Tip: always present info to help them create greater success, efficiency, understanding), what possibly can be the problem?
It’s not the words we use to present to them,
it’s the words we use to talk to ourselves.
I was reminded of this when a friend asked me if I had read Shad Helmstetter’s classic, What to Say When You Talk to Your Self. I talk a little about self-talk in How to Say It to Sell It (and what a great job I do, too!), but if you lack confidence, Helmstetter’s old book is a must-read.
Self-talk. We tell ourselves we can’t do things and then we can’t and then we wonder why we can’t.
Become a more confident presenter by eliminating and replacing any negative food you’re feeding yourself. Think of it as “The Presentation Diet.” As soon as you catch yourself thinking or saying something self-defeating like:
I’m going to mess this up,
I just am not a good speaker,
I’m not funny,
I always get nervous,
I’m not cut out for this,
I’m going to get sick to my stomach,
No one is going to like me,
stop! Stop your silly talk and start smart talk. Replace your “stinkin’ thinkin'” with what you want to – and will – do:
I’m a confident speaker,
I’m funny and I make people laugh,
I’m calm and in control,
I’m perfect for this,
I’m feeling great and ready,
I’m going to make someone’s life easier with this information today.
Just reading the second list is calming, isn’t it? The brain will do what you program it to. Tell it you’re nervous and voila! Tell it you’re feeling calm and eventually, you’ll be much calmer.
Change the words you say to yourself about yourself and watch yourself become a more confident presenter.