Top Tips for Managers: Public Speaking
Mark Twain said that there are only two types of speakers in the world: the nervous and the liars. Survey after survey still backs this up. Almost everyone worries about public speaking, and of course, these days, more of us than ever before have to do it. Leading meetings, giving team presentations, speaking at conferences. If you’re a manager, you need to get information across, engage others in your plans and inspire confidence in you and your message. But how do you do that if you’re terrified?
Well, the first step is to stop trying to get rid of your nerves altogether. They’re there for a reason. They’re telling you it’s an important moment and you can use them to sharpen your focus and give you energy. See this as an opportunity and tell yourself you are up to the challenge.
Next, work on understanding your audience. Find out what they expect and what will be truly useful for them. When you come to speak, you’ll see in their faces that you’re on the right track, which will boost your confidence no end. And the more you make it about them, the less you’ll worry about yourself.
Planning your presentation is also important for removing uncertainty and reducing stress. Pin down the content you need to cover and put it into a structure that’s clear and memorable for you as well as the audience. Your plan will help you speak naturally, clearly and confidently.
When the time comes, engage with the experience. Stand up straight, seize the moment, hook the audience in at the start, and then guide them through your presentation so you can see they’re with you. When they’re engaged, you’ll feel more confident than ever.
And don’t forget to practice. Run through your whole performance with someone who can give you feedback, or record yourself and spot areas for improvement. Keep looking for ways to make your words more useful for your audience and to seize the opportunity.
And when it’s done, find time to reflect on how it went. You’ll already be working to make your next presentation even better. Don’t try to be perfect, but do take small steps to becoming a more confident presenter.
You’ll enjoy it more, you’ll be better at it, and you’ll be a great role model for your team.