Some people just have it.
When the spotlight turns on them, they shine.
Whether it’s down the pub with friends, in a meeting, making a presentation or on stage at a conference, when they speak people become energised, engaged, and connected to them and their message.
There are others who, put in those same situations, wilt.
They struggle to keep people’s attention no matter how compelling the point their trying to convey.
Some of my friends seem to have just been born with that amazing ability to engage an audience, whether that audience is just one other person or in a room of 500.
For the last 20 years I’ve made a living out of public speaking and holding a room, but it’s a skill I’ve worked hard to develop, and I continue to do so.
It always surprises me how many of my friends, who are confident, talented, successful people, dread being in the spotlight, making presentations, delivering a speech.
But they’re not alone.
Glossophobia, or public speaking anxiety, is one of the most common fears in the UK -according to the British Council, 75% of us suffer from anxiety about talkingin front of a crowd.
But fear not, there’s some simple science behind why we feel this way.
And some simple techniques that can help overcome it…
We have some very basic programming in our brain, developed over thousands of years, to help us survive. Survival used to mean being part of a tribe and avoiding potential dangers, like hungry sabre tooth tigers. If danger presents itself, we trigger our fight, flight, freeze response to hopefully help us live another day.
In the absence of the sabre tooth tiger, our ancient design is still on the look-out for things that could ‘eat us’. In today’s world that’s anything unknown, new, isolating… Dare I say; public speaking, presenting in meetings, or being interviewed.
Our mind perceives each of these situations as danger, and triggers our survival response.
Before we even have a chance to blink, our bodies are pumped full of adrenaline and cortisol and hey presto we have a dry mouth, sweaty hands & a busy head.
Pretty far from ideal for holding a room!
When we’re with friends it’s so much easier to be ourselves.
Our friends understand us, forgive us our shortcomings, they’re our tribe.
At work it's a different game.
There's more at play.
We need to connect and engage people in very different ways, people with differing levels of seniority, backgrounds, experience, expectations. All of which brings a new level of pressure to how we’re going to get our message across.
How we respond and navigate these situations while doing ourselves justice is key to success.
How we present ourselves, will quickly dictate how people perceive us.
We only need a few minutes with someone to make an assessment on them, their capabilities, value, and potential in the business.
Presenting with impact is such an important quality if you want to succeed in business.
As Warren buffet said “Communication skills can improve your value by 50%”.
Whilst storytelling is very much a skill that can be learnt, the first thing to do if you’re going to tell a brilliant story is separate the story from the telling. They’re two very different things.
All too often I find people obsess about the content, the information they want to get across, the story. I’d argue the most important part of engaging a group is the art of telling that story. That’s where your personality can shine through ifyou let it.
Presenting with impact starts with you.
You have all the raw ingredients you need and if you want to stand out from the crowd you need to amplify the unique qualities only you possess.
As soon as we conform and attempt to fit in, we start to shine less brightly.
People love difference, quirkiness, oddities.
Don’t hide these qualities away.
People are attracted to authenticity.
Confidence, clarity, energy, belief, connectivity...these are all up for grabs.
All you need to do is tap into what makes you tick and learn some very simple techniques that will help you to present with impact, whenever, wherever and in front of whoever.
Find out more about how we can help you present with impact here...