Why learning tricks of the stage trade will boost your business
Of all the responsibilities we take on as we rise through the ranks, public speaking must count as one of the most challenging.
For people with a natural gift and brimming with confidence, public speaking is something to be enjoyed. For the rest of us, it can be a daunting and, in some cases, terrifying experience.
How do I make this interesting? What will the audience think of me? Will I come across as a phony? All of us tasked with speaking to a group of people about our business will ask ourselves these questions at some point.
Yet it is possible to learn how to become an effective public speaker – even for those of a nervous disposition – and to enjoy it in the process. It’s certainly worth your time to develop some performance technique, as it helps you promote your company and adds a certain amount of credibility.
After all, the best speakers often get the best deals, because they can engage their listeners and come across as very persuasive.
Plenty of training organisations offer performance coaching, and there are lots of other online resources to help you win over those nerves and win business.
For now, here are three areas to focus on a you prepare to boost your presentation skills:
Successful actors have it and so do successful business people. Yet ‘presence’ is actually quite hard to define, because it is not something you can see or feel. You just know if when someone has it. You know it because the speaker demands your attention. You know it when they have you in thrall, hanging onto their every word. And you know it because you totally trust and have confidence in them. The speaker with presence projects themselves in such a way that you can’t help but pay attention to them, and that’s half the battle in any presentation.
Body language, tone and voice inflection all play a part in projecting presence. And it is a powerful force when you have a room full of prospective clients listening to you.
Nobody likes a phony. Gullible people may be vulnerable to the phony’s charms, but most people can see right through them. And so it is in the business world. In some ways, we are always acting in business, whether we need to exaggerate our company’s size in order to get noticed or embellish our success a little to create confidence. Even when we’re telling the unvarnished truth, we might worry that we’re coming across as too ‘salesy’ or insincere.
Learning to come across with a natural authenticity is a hard skill to get right, but one that will set you apart from the vast majority of speakers. Having confidence in your material will help. But there are other techniques you can use to make your speech flow and inspire real trust from your audience.
- Channelling Nervous Energy
It’s natural to be nervous before a public speaking engagement, whatever your skill and experience. In fact, nerves can work to your advantage if you channel them into creating energy in your presentation, or control them so that you can deal with any problems (such as the projector breaking down) calmly and professionally.
Many people worry about getting something wrong or looking a fool, and let that override their focus. Learn how to channel your nerves so that they fire you up. Being well prepared will help enormously here. There are also breathing exercises and other techniques you can employ to keep your nerves in check, and even let you enjoy the attention you’re getting.
In the modern world of commerce, more of us than ever are being called upon to perform. Whether we need to appear in a company video or do a pitch presentation, we are at a distinct advantage if we are skilled in projecting presence, authenticity and calmness.
Many entrepreneurs have used their performance skills to grow their brands and get people talking. So it’s certainly a skill worth having.
Would you like to learn some useful techniques for improving your presentation skills? UK actress Victoria Mintey will be presenting a one-day workshop called ‘Learning from the stage: Presenting with impact’ in Singapore on Thursday 3rd November. Click here to register now. This is part of the Cegos APAC ‘Expert Series’ workshops running from September to November.