In the business world, time is money. Many people have busy schedules and busier lives. So, when a presentation is requested from you or required of you, it is likely of some significance. It’s safe to say that people are not likely tasked with delivering a presentation as a “make work project” because the presence of others is expected, committing their time to observe. When you are required to design and deliver a professional presentation, there’s a reason. The stakes are high in the world of professional presentations. Oftentimes, financial and career implications are on the line. Your reputation is on the line. Perhaps your idea, plan, or months of your work are on the line. They could be viewed as an excellent investment, or a waste of time and resources. You could be up for promotion, or at risk of being passed over and relegated to menial duties.

Understanding Expectations

Then of course, there are the times when you’re not sure exactly what’s expected of you or what you’re expected to produce. During preliminary meetings with my clients, I will ask a series of questions to get a better picture of their unique scenario and circumstances. Countless times, I’ve heard the responses, “I don’t know,” “I’m not sure,” or “I think so.” Many business professionals are simply unsure about the presentation process and/or their reason for presenting. Unfortunately, in industry many are presumed to know how to design and deliver a professional presentation. This misconception is like expecting a mechanic to present effectively on engine configurations. They may be exceptional at repairing vehicles, but professional communication is a whole different animal. Each task requires a completely different skill set. It’s one thing to understand and produce in your role; it’s quite another to present content effectively. On top of that pressure, you will be alone, exposed, isolated in front of many people, some of whom are strangers. And let’s not forget, you’ll only get one shot at success. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? But fret not, help is on the way!

Developing Confidence

It’s no secret that the best public speakers and presenters are confident. However, that’s not to say that you cannot deliver a successful professional presentation if you are nervous. I have observed many, very frightened presenters that have been successful. Remember, success is defined as achieving your desired outcome(s). The difference between the successful and unsuccessful presenters is not the quality of their speaking, but of their entire presentation. That being said, the more you increase your confidence, the more you increase your probability of success. Think about any activity in your life. Chances are, when you do it confidently, you’re more effective. There are two paths to enhance your presentation confidence. The first is through preparation and the second is through exposure.

To be continued…

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