I hate public speaking or speaking at meetings. There, I said it.
I am honest enough to admit that one of the reasons is a mix of nervousness and a lack of confidence, even when I am talking about something I am enthusiastic about . However, due to the nature of my job, I do sometimes have to give presentations, and I have found that over the years several things have helped me. The first was to virtually abandon PowerPoint – or at least to abandon it where it adds nothing other than a distraction – you know the kind of slides with text on that the speaker then reads out to you as if you can not read it yourself. The use of blank slides to bring people’s focus back to you the speaker has also been a godsend , as has keeping the talks short, snappy and to the point. I know one of the main reasons that I am not as good/comfortable as I should be is not spending enough time ‘preparing’
Why am I talking about this today?
Well I was reading a post by a guy called Dave Pollard entitled ‘ As Long as you Believe it’
It is an excellent piece, and I identify with Dave who is honest enough to say he is a ‘mediocre speaker, and it’s taken me years to reach that level’.
The Key elements as far as he in concerned, for effective speaking are:
1. Know your stuff, ( Here he is talking about being well prepared – making sure you go over the material until it’s polished and you know it cold)
2. Focus on what’s really important, really novel or really interesting, and
3. Only speak on subjects you care about to audiences you care about.
I seriously could just quote big chunks of this post, but instead I recommend that anyone who has ever given a presentation gives it a read. Yes, some of it is obvious, but that is often the stuff we ignore ourselves.