Jumpstart Confidence in Business Presenting

True confessions time.

Corporate leaders around the world confess to a singular dread of presenting in front of groups. It’s shocking, really. Grown men in dark blue suits. Successful women who have smashed the glass ceiling.

They should be confident. They should feel great and ready to jump up and take center stage. But, it’s not the case.

In the quiet safety of a hallway. Next to the elevator. Over a cup of coffee. These men and women tell a simple story:

“I dread presenting.”

“I get nauseous just thinking about it!”

“I’ve had presentation skills training on my development plan for the last 15 years.”

This is bad news. Smart, well-educated professionals who would rather stay under the covers than step into the spotlight. All that knowledge, insight and contribution hidden or lost. This is a sorry shame.

But good news is close behind.

Learning how to feel confident giving presentations has gotten easier than ever before. An entire new source for professional development training is now available: online presentation skills training.

Previously, busy professionals relied on expensive in-house training programs, exorbitant coaching fees and public seminars. No more. Now, the choice is clear: self-study courses are the way to go.

These leaders are men and women who know the importance of professional skills training. It’s a career booster like no other. It is the critical key to unlock more job opportunity, better promotions, and greater success.

While senior leadership promotions often look for work experience, smart organizations value communication training and leadership presentation skills.

The big question every professional should ask is this: what’s on your calendar for becoming a confident presenter?

Let’s look at the big ‘excuses’ that could be standing in your way:

1. No travel budget

Online course and skill development is now available from many websites. With webinars it is easy to learn the skills you need to succeed.

2. No time

No worries. Get quick training bites in short video tutorials. Grab new ideas in cheat sheets and blueprints you can use from the convenience of your home, office or hotel room.

3. No money

Hey, let’s kick that excuse to the curb. New pricing and new low cost options provide high-value for as little as pennies a day!

4. No support from boss

With new online solutions for every budget, you don’t need to wait for approval from your boss or organization. In fact, you’d be smarter to take your career path into your own hands.

By conquering your fear of presenting, you’ll be uniquely positioned for promotions, job opportunities, and attracting employers who value education.

5. No confidence

Lack of confidence is not truly a barrier. It’s more a warning light on your internal dashboard. Ad when this warning light is flashing it’s signaling one thing: it’s time to solidify your intent.

Focus on finding resources that are non-judgmental and confidence boosting. Lack of confidence arises because you haven’t yet learned the step-by-step system to feel good, relaxed and natural presenting in front of groups.

Remember this important fact: learning to be a confident presenter is a skill. It’s a learnable skill. The sooner you start learning the ropes, the sooner you’ll be free of nervous jitters.

The most powerful presenters today often started because they recognized one thing: if they stay stuck in excuses, they will never achieve their career goals.

These professionals learned in the same way you can. Take the first step. Then the second. In no time you’ll have new professional skills that can take you to the top of your career. 

How To Effectively Negotiate? The 6-Step Professional Approach

Nearly everything in life worth achieving, requires some sort of negotiating skills. While many people say they know how to negotiate, it is important to realize that is far different from effectively doing so. Therefore, both regarding our personal lives, as well as many skills associated with business expertise, effective negotiation is a key to excellence. When we not only know how to do this, but also consistently utilize the skills, assets, attitudes and abilities, which put you in the best position, we are most capable of achieving things which so many others are not. Understand this requires doing one’s homework, being prepared (ready), and following a quality game plan. Let’s review the 6-step, professional approach:

1. Know your objectives: Only if you enter into the process, knowing what you want to accomplish and achieve, have a clear vision of your goals, and follow a path, in an orderly manner, will you achieve what you seek or need. One of the biggest mistakes poor negotiators often make, is either under-estimating their adversary, over-stating what they promise, fail to differentiate between essential priorities versus wants, don’t understand the need to clearly articulate and tell the truth, etc.

2. Know adversary’s objectives/needs: You might wonder why it is so important to know what the other side needs. Quality negotiating is not about merely asking for the moon, because unless the other side, gets what it needs, the process will often fail. For example, if you negotiate with a hotel or a caterer, why would you believe they would agree to lose money. In that instance, create a process which creates and/or seeks a win-win, where together you reach concepts which might save money, which can then be passed along. In real estate, quality negotiating is never about merely pressuring the owner (if you represent the buyer), to lower the price dramatically, but rather getting the lowest price possible, which will be accepted and close the process, creating a meeting of the mind.

3. Absolute integrity: Amateurs sometimes proceed by overstating what they can deliver, and, their side suffers, when inevitably it is discovered to be so. Rather, one of the necessities of profession negotiations, is to consistently maintain absolute integrity!

4. Full disclosure: Clearly articulate your musts, which are those needs, often referred to as deal-breakers! Explain you want to work together to make it work, and seek alternative approaches or methods, that will make it work well for both sides!

5. Think outside the box: Forget the same-old, same-old philosophy, mentality or approach! Rather, carefully consider alternatives, work with (rather than constantly against) the other side, and develop mutually satisfying approaches. For example, when negotiating with a hotel and/or caterer, clearly explain what you offer/the advantages to them(e.g. common menus, flexibility of menu and service, etc). Seek ways where both sides can win!

6. Come to a win-win, meeting of the minds: Only when both sides come away, feeling they were somewhat successful, and met their needs and objectives, do you get the longer-term, best results. Great negotiator realize that winning does not mean defeating the other side, but rather coming to an agreement which works, and achieves objectives!

I’ve often stated negotiations should usually be left to the professionals, because, the process goes more smoothly, and a greater proportion of goals and objectives are met. When you understand the basics, and focus on the end-result, you will become a far better negotiator.

Presentation Changes for a Bit of Excitement for You and Your Listeners

Is it time for a change? If you have been speaking for awhile, you have probably settled into the comfort of re-using the material that is already prepared and familiar. In this article, I challenge you to make some changes.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I use the same or similar handouts?
  • Do I have tried and true visuals that I use over and over again?
  • Do I have a particular topic or topics that I always speak about?

If you answer “yes” to all or any, it is time for changes.

Update and upgrade your handouts. I know, I’ve been there. It is so much easier and more efficient to make minor changes on the computer to your saved handouts, thus using basically the same format over and over again. After all, we spent lots of time in the beginning research, writing, tweaking, and creating those super handouts. Unfortunately, that was in the “beginning” and, hopefully, we have grown past that stage. Take a hard, critical look at what you have been handing out to your audience. Could they be shorter and punchier? The long ones are usually filed away and never looked at again. Maybe all you need to hand out is a sheet of resources — recommended links, books and tapes.

Reevaluate your visuals. If you use a lot of visuals, maybe it is time to use fewer with snappier meanings. If they are serious, maybe it is time for some cartoons. People who laugh with you establish rapport with you and will appreciate your presentation more. If you don’t use visuals, think about what type of visual would enhance your presentation. Remember the old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” If you are using visuals made up of words, think about pictures. The word “cow” doesn’t look like a cow.

Try a brand new topic or approach to a topic. I know that all of the books and speaking gurus stress the value of becoming an expert in a particular field, and I do believe in the importance of that theory. I feel, however, that if you attack a brand new topic — and possibly present it to a different audience for free — you might discover ways to enhance your usual topic and/or topics. Everything is related, and by researching a whole new field, you may find a whole new approach to and way to strengthen what you already are familiar with presenting.

Get out of your comfort zone. Not only will it strengthen your presentations, it will also be fun and exciting for you and your listeners.