If you can relate to shaking with fear when asked to give a presentation, then you’ve experienced a touch of glossophobia (fear of public speaking). It’s a really common phobia so I’ve asked the fab Sally Hindmarch of Partners With You to share some of the great advice from her training sessions on presenting fabulously.
“There are so many ways you can present fabulously and feel confident while you do it, but for many of us getting up in the first place is the hard part. Just being able to stand up and speak coherently would be amazing for many. I know when I first started having to do sales presentations I would have done anything to stop myself showing how scared I was both physically and vocally.
My first boss could see how scared I was and uttered the immortal words … “Sally, you need to be more confident!” Possibly the least useful advice I have ever received (and I have received some pretty lousy advice over the years!)
When Philippa asked me to write this blog I realised there are so many ways that you can feel fab while you are presenting and have had trouble honing it down to a manageable size!
However, if I miss out breathing well (yes I know we all do breathe but when we’re nervous we don’t breathe well!) I think I can keep it to three key tips!
On the subject of breathing: If you do find yourself breathing in short shallow breathes you won’t speak well and you won’t be able to think on your feet so do get some help to relax and control your breathing. There is a free webinar all about breathing and getting a voice others want to listen to on our website www.partnerswithyou.co.uk/our-products/free-resources which you might find useful. It was recorded by one of our team of actors and gives you lots of techniques to help.
Top three tips for presenting fabulously
Anyway … back to my blog. Other than breathing well I’ve decided to select the three things that are top of mind today as I have a presentation only 48 hours away.
Drink lots of water!
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if you are well hydrated you will not only feel better but you will look better too.
I try to keep a bottle of water with me at all times but definitely when I’m about to speak. There is nothing worse than getting a dry mouth mid presentation … you start to concentrate on that, rather than what you are saying and it is really hard to sound like you know what you are doing if you aren’t really concentrating.
As well as drinking lots of water, try to avoid milky drinks beforehand as they will make your mouth “claggy”. If you are getting/have a cold or need to work on your diction or clarity you just make your job that bit harder.
We have three tips for standing positively:
- Stand on both feet all of the time, only moving if there is a point to your movement; there is nothing more distracting than watching someone else pace or sway.
- Stand upright so you look confident – head up so you are able to get eye contact with your audience (but not so high that you are looking down your nose at everyone!)
- Pull your shoulders back slightly so you can breathe more easily and you don’t look as though you are carrying the weight of the world on them.
We call this Tripod, String and Bolero! If you are standing positively you will look more confident and if you look more confident you will feel (and be) more confident!
It doesn’t matter how great what you have to say is if no one can understand you. Lots of people come to us because they are concerned about their accent. But to be honest your accent isn’t a barrier to being understood, it’s your diction! To be understood you need to enunciate well and to do that, all your vocal muscles, lips, tongue and mouth need to be warmed up.
There are masses of vocal exercises you can do to address a specific issue but at the very least, do some tongue twisters before you start speaking to get you going. Often when we first speak it’s to introduce ourselves and how embarrassing is it when the other person can’t even understand your name?
My favourites are:
“Ken Dog’s Dad’s Dog’s Dead” and “Barney Rubble’s Bubble’s Burst”!
It helps hugely if you care about what you are saying but if your audience can hear you, you are standing with authority and you’re fully hydrated you will present more confidently … and if you look and sound more confident you will be!
Find more help to present fabulously
Want to know more on presenting fabulously? The free resources page contains more tips for making your presentation memorable. We run several public presentation workshops throughout the year and for those who really want to make a difference to their impact and influence, we run a 6 month programme aimed specifically at women. And if you’re not sure how we can help, give me a call and we can talk through if our approach would be right for you.”
Thank you Sally, great advice and I’m definitely going to be trying your tongue twisters before I give my next networking minute!