At one time or another I’m sure most of us have got a small stone inside our shoe. If we’re in a hurry or in a public place where we don’t feel at ease taking our shoes off, we might be tempted to leave it; just carry on walking and try to ignore it.
So, what has this got to do with presentations? Most of us (actually, probably all of us) have little mannerisms and verbal tics that we don’t really notice - but which become accentuated when we’re under pressure. And, even though we’re not always conscious of it, presentations are stressful situations.
During presentation skills coaching sessions I often notice things that people do that they are not aware of. Sometimes it’s the obvious umms and ers, but usually it is more subtle. Repeated use of ‘kind of’ or similar phrases, involuntary glances upwards, sniffing, shuffling around – all sorts of things.
Presentations: the focus is on you
What matters is that all of these things are distractions. If you are making a lengthy presentation they will become really evident to your client; perhaps not such an issue in the first minute but progressively getting harder to ignore. Like the stone in the shoe they can eventually become the focus of your client’s attention, rather than the message you are getting across.
To stop this happening you need honest and unbiased feedback on your presentation delivery. You may be able to get this from colleagues; but it’s not always easy to criticize a workmate, or worse still your boss, however constructive your comments might be.
You might also think about engaging a specialist presentation skills coach who will help you iron-out these unwanted features of your presentation style - and ensure the focus is on your message rather than your mannerisms.
Hugh Graham, The Bid Coach
I help business professionals develop their ability to win business through persuasive and memorable presentations. Call 01963 240555 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thebidcoach.co.uk to see how I can help you improve your presentation skills.
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