How To Become An Awesome Speaker & Presenter

Have you ever wanted to be an awesome public speaker, or make awesome presentations? Well here are a few pointers!

I do a lot of work with employees across the board and at all levels, including supporting them to make really effective presentations, have great interviews and to make an authentic & powerful impact in important meetings.

Whether it is speaking in public, delivering a compelling business case, making a winning sales pitch, or blowing the socks off a potential employer in an interview, it all comes down to one word & a clutch of underlying principles.

That word is Confidence & those principles are a ‘Sure & certain command of the facts’, ‘Self Believe’ &,Personal Mastery.

And the Good News is that all of these can be nurtured, developed & made to shine brightly for each and everyone of us!

A few years ago and a tad more now, one of The Mudd Partnership team worked in Advertising & an old Advertising adage they will tell you is: ‘Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em, Tell ’em, &, then Tell ’em just what you’ve told Them’!

Of course, there is a little more to it then that, but in those 19 pithy words you really have all you need to know about how to Communicate effectively and I would define ‘Effective Communication’ as: ‘What is being said or conveyed is clearly heard or unambiguously read and fully understood’!.

As Stephen Covey put forward as one of his 7 Habits, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” & as George Orwell said a tad earlier, “Clarity First”.

So, let’s start with Confidence — Action seems to follow Feeling, but in reality Action & Feeling go together and psychologists will tell you that by regulating the Action which is under the more direct control of the will, you can indirectly regulate the Feeling, which is not.

At the outset of just about everything — both with a high or not so high challenge — it is quite natural to have both strong physical & emotional responses which aren’t always terribly helpful and include being apprehensive (even a tad fearful), reluctant and anxious, nervous & self-conscious, & the real trick is to master these feelings and be in possession of yourself! It’s your House after all and you have the keys in your pocket or purse!

In previous Blogs I have written about, ‘Resistance Practice’ & ‘Personal Mastery’.‘Resistance Practice’ as espoused by Robert Greene in his book, ‘Mastery’ is about setting yourself challenging goals and taking the hardest option — It’s self-challenge, it’s a self-imposed stretch, it’s Practice, Practice, Practice!

Whilst, ‘Personal Mastery’ is what Peter Senge might describe as continuing to expand your ability to achieve the results you want & again this achieved through self-challenge, self imposed stretch, &, Practice, Practice, Practice! It’s also about being willing and able to continually learn.

So, here are some Pointers — a few practical steps and suggestions to help you to build your Confidence and become an Awesome Public Speaker & an Awesome Presenter:

Step 1: The 3 P’s: Practice, Practice, Practice — Stretch & challenge yourself as a matter of course & through this rigour you’ll acquire an increasing self-confidence & personal mastery: Don’t leave anything to chance either, so whatever you’re using as part of your delivery on the day ensure you are comfortable and confident with it — Always, wherever possible, arrive early, walk the room, feel the space, &, switch on the Power and check the cables! It sounds obvious but these last two are mistakes which many a seasoned presenter has made in the past, including ME!

Step 2: Know thoroughly what you are going to say: Have a sure and certain grasp of all your facts — Build your narrative from the bottom up & be clear and certain in your mind of its Arc and the staging posts which will take you through from A to B to C & right through to Z— Think how you will deliver, where you will pause for effect and where you will lower or raise your tone and pitch — And once again beforhand, Practice, Practice, Practice!

In fact, what’s the difference between an amateur and a professional? It’s simply this — An amateur practices until they get something right, a professional practices until they get nothing wrong!

Step 3: Have a Big-Beginning & an even Bigger-End: At the beginning you need to break through the ‘white noise’ that can cause attention to waiver — It is said in an Interview situation that minds are made up either for or against you in the first 90 seconds — Whilst for Presentations you may have as little as 15 seconds, so start with a‘Big & Surprising Fact’ — Don’t begin with Background, or a Big introduction about You — People need to be engaged before they’ll care and you want them to listen and keep listening — And when you come to the end, don’t forget to — ‘Tell ’em what you told them’!

Step 4: Posture, Poise & Purpose: Hold yourself with Conviction and Purpose — Head up, Feet slightly apart, shoulders back & remember to breathe — As Dr Johnson said: ‘To be hung concerntrates the mind wonderfully’ — Smile! Certainly more than you want too in the moment and with your eyes — Sweep your gaze across your audience like a lighthouse, not too fast, not too slow — You’ll notice people who are really interested, leaning forward to listen, nodding, even smiling back — You’ll also notice others that aren’t, but focus on the Warm Spots & alternate your gaze as you emphasise your points — When I work with clients we look at techniques like, ‘The Flooding Smile’, & ‘Sticky Eyes’ & ‘Hanging By Your Teeth’ & Leil Lowndes’s book, ‘How To Talk To Anyone’ is very good on all this stuff — Most importantly though, allow yourself to be comfortable and give yourself permission to unbutton & enjoy it! & finally;

Step 5: Be Careful With Humour: If you’re not a natural comedian, don’t force it — The Number 1 priority is to establish a connection and a rapport first — Never expect or plan for humour to make that connection for you, &, be careful if you script it — Only allow it to creep in if you are very comfortable with it & you can sense the room responding— But if it happens embrace it, be spontaneous & just roll with it!

Paul Mudd can be an Awesome Presenter. He is also the author of ‘Uncovering Mindfulness: In Search Of A Life More Meaningful’ available on Amazon, the ‘Coffee & A Cup Of Mindfulness’and the ‘Mindful Hacks For Mindful Living & Mindful Working’ series, and presenter of the ‘From Mindfulness With Love’ series available on YouTube.

He works with business leaders, organisations and individuals to enable them to be the best they can be, lead with excellence and introduce Mindfulness into the workplace. He can be contacted at paul@themuddpartnership.co.uk and you can follow the continuing journey uncovering Mindfulness on Twitter @TheMindfulBook and all the other stuff @Paul_Mudd and @muddpartnership