It ain’t easy, right?
Presentations and public speaking are the arch enemy of almost three quarters of the world.
To stand in front of people, to talk, to answer questions. To keep your cool. To look confident.
All the while worrying what that bald guy in the front is thinking.
Why’s that lady at the back scowling at you through her horn-rimmed glasses?
Why does everyone keep glancing at the clock?
So, here’s the deal. I’ve got 4 harsh truths for you.
They’re going to hurt when you first read them. No question about that.
But, if you read them fully, think about them, and internalize them, you will become a better presenter. Overnight.
Here are the 4 harsh truths that will make you a better presenter:
1. You suck
…And that’s okay.
Whether this is your first presentation, or your thousandth, you are going to suck at some things.
Things will go wrong with equipment, you’ll lose your place, you’ll forget your second point. There will be some slip up, some mishap.
A great presentation is not about perfection.
A great presentation is about how you carry yourself when things don’t go quite right.
When something doesn’t go quite right and you handle it smoothly, it improves your relationship with your audience. It builds trust and credibility. It adds another medal for battles fought and won on stage and makes you more confident when you do your next presentation.
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2. You’re not a mind reader
It’s hard to maintain your composure in a presentation when your audience is giving you negative feedback.
You’re talking about the broad business benefits of your current project and all the while getting dirty looks from a guy in the corner.
You can’t focus because of him.
You skip a beat, lose the point of what you were saying, and the downward momentum ignites your presentation into a ball of flames.
Now you’re getting dirty looks from everyone.
What you need to understand is that you don’t understand why he’s got a dirty look on his face. Maybe he’s upset with you or your presentation, but maybe he just broke up with his girlfriend, or found out he has to do overtime tonight, or ANYTHING!
The point is, you can’t let his “dirty look” get to you. Ignore it and, if absolutely necessary, deal with it after your presentation.
3. You’ll never be perfect
It’s not just you!
You can practice your presentation all night, but it will never be perfect.
Striving for perfection is important if you’re performing open heart surgery or de-commissioning a nuclear reactor, but you’re not saving lives with your presentation. Nobody dies if you slip up during your talk.
Relax about perfection and you’ll find yourself delivering a better, smoother talk.
4. You’re an awful liar
Unless you’re a psychopath your audience can tell when you’re lying.
If you’re not sure about something, or you are asked a question to which you don’t know the answer, just say so. Don’t try to cover up.
By being 100% honest, your audience will be more likely to trust you. They’ll be more likely to buy-in to whatever your talk is about.
What do you think? Let’s chat in the comments below.