Winners of 2018's The Business Books Awards for their book, The Leader's Guide to Presenting: How to Use Soft Skills to Get Hard Results

Just like us, you are SME owners and you have to win work to survive, be profitable and offer a rewarding environment for your employees.

Sometimes, you win work via a formal pitch of your product or service. As a leader you may present at conferences, client seminars, or networking events. In addition, you may present internally to your staff around change or your strategy. We call these high stakes presentations. In all these contexts you and your team must present confidently and with charisma.

So, what are the six steps to becoming a confident and charismatic presenter?

1. Just be confident

Nervous people create nervous audiences. You must be self-confident. Here are three quick ways to ensure you're in a resourceful state, whenever you present:

Breathe diaphragmatically - you'll feel grounded and authentic

Imagine a successful outcome. Elite athletes use visualisations as an intrinsic part of their preparation

Think of a time when you were confident.  Chemicals fired by the brain when thinking of the past are the same as when experiencing it for real

2. Prepare and present with the audience in mind

Every presentation should be audience-centric. What's their current knowledge and motivation level?  What are their concerns and challenges around this topic? Once you have great content, rehearse. Rehearsing makes you more confident, identifies development opportunities, and results in a smoother delivery.

3. Grab attention immediately - use a spike

A spike is a sentence or series of sentences that gets at the heart of your message. For example the MD of a growing telecoms company seeking investment said: ‘50% of the world's population have neither made nor received a phone call'. This compels the audience to pay attention right from the start!

4. Pace the audience before leading

Many presenters attempt to lead audiences too quickly to their key messages and wonder why they get push back. You may be passionate, but they may not be. What you need to do is pace them; acknowledge their engagement level and understanding of the subject.  The audience is then much more likely to be convinced. 

5. Articulate benefits to audience

Any audience needs to identify the WIIFM (what's in it for me?) to fully engage.  People buy emotionally and then justify logically so you need to find ways to move them if you want them to take action.

Outline to the audience the benefits of listening to you - what will they improve, save, solve, increase, and reduce by listening to you?

6. Utilise the power of your body language

Up to 55% of your impact happens unconsciously as a result of your body language. Stand tall, adopt neutral resting position, resist the urge to slump or fiddle, use big gestures, smile and get eye contact and you will be seen as charismatic.

Work on these six steps so they become habits. Once you have mastered how to present confidently and charismatically, teach all those around you to do the same. The benefits to you and your business can be transformational.

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