As an entrepreneur you will learn that communication is one of the vital skills you will need. Being comfortable in front of a crowd is a skill that can be learned therefore you should not hide behind the cloak of shyness or the introvert label.
If you’re new to public speaking, it can be intimidating -- for some, it can be terrifying, to say the least. That’s why most people never bother to master public speaking.
After I underwent Professional Speaking FastTrac course through the National Speakers Association, I learnt the content of my speech was often less important than how I presented it. When we attend presentations by speakers who appear calm, confident and organized, we feel more interested and engaged.
Even if you’re nervous, it’s better to act confident rather than reveal your true feelings. The trick is to stay as calm as possible and avoid the most common mistakes. Here are six phrases you should avoid when making a presentation.
1. “Hello? Can everyone hear me?” A lot of new speakers will blow into the microphone, tap it and ask if everyone can hear them. If you’re speaking at an event, there’s a good chance that someone in the audiovisual department already checked the audio. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to arrive early and check it before going on stage. Never assume that all your equipment will work correctly. Arrive early to check everything out so that you will be well prepared.
2. “Oh I am so nervous, I have never done this before.” When you’re on stage, it is normal to feel nervous. Whether you are speaking for the first time or for the 100th time. Verbalizing it, only serves to compound it. You are better off taking a deep breath and focusing on happy thoughts or on your strengths.
3. “Well, I didn’t have much time to prepare.” Never start your presentation with an excuse like “They only invited me yesterday,” or “I’m just getting over the flu.” The people listening to your presentation are expecting you to do your best, regardless of how you feel or how much time you’ve had to prepare. As an entrepreneur know your product and service well. Practice how to present it to different crowds so that you are always prepared.
4. “In the future, I plan to…” If your new product is still in production, try not to tell anyone. Exciting news is worth the wait. Besides, your plans could change and anything could postpone your plans. Most new products and ideas will shift and evolve based on new information and feedback. Make a public announcement about your new designs, products and offers when they’re ready. Most people want to hear about what is available to them right now.
5. “Ummm…” Avoid filler words including “Um,” “uh,” “you know,” “basically”, “things like that” “etcetera” and “like.” Using these words too often takes away from the effectiveness and eloquence of your presentation. They are also distractive and make you sound unsure about what you’re going to say next. Try pausing if you have to think of the right word. Or tell a story. Filler words oftentimes vanish when you get involved in telling a story. Besides, your audience will remember a good story long after your presentation.
6. “Hmm, the font is small. Let me read this slide for you.” A visual presentation full of words is dull and boring. Captivating pictures, short phrases and bullet points are ideal. Try not to read your slides to the audience. That’s what handouts are for. Everyone came to see you speak, share your ideas and not to hear you reading aloud. Any visuals or props you choose to bring along should only serve to enhance your speech. Remember, you’re the main event, not your PowerPoint presentation.
Remember you are the best sales person of your product or service and all you need to do is prepare a presentation, practice it and go out there and WOW them!
Twitter: @FridaOwinga and @PassionProfit
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