As a business owner you may not think you will be expected to deliver a dynamite presentation. After all, you are a business owner, not a professional speaker. However, there are times when entrepreneurs and business owners are called upon to speak about their expertise and then, you must do everything you can to instil professional confidence in your audience.
I recently attended a small business recognition event where several owners were asked to share insights about their experiences in business. Granted, the final speaker had a tough spot: after lunch, final speaker, dark room, powerpoint you couldn’t read, but still he could have controlled the one thing business owners do not have much extra of: time. He spoke almost 50% more than the original time he was allotted (90 minutes instead of 60). I can only say that there were people leaving throughout the presentation as they became more and more aware that he wasn’t going to stop until he was finished.
So what can you learn from this? Here are a few tips to remember the next time you are asked to speak.
- You don’t have to be a professional speaker, but you do have to be a professional.
- Bring useful tips and techniques of what has worked for you.
- You are there to educate and inform; not sell.
- Start and end on time. Okay, just end on time, if you have to choose.
- If you really want to get better; listen to other speakers and learn from the good and the bad.
- Every audience is different, even if the topic is the same.
- Winging it (working without a net – or notes) is never a good idea. Improvising only reinforces amateur status.
- If you are going to have a question and answer period, make sure both the questions and the answers can be heard.
- Well placed humour is appropriate; joke telling rarely is.
- End your speech (on time); don’t just stop talking, otherwise the audience won’t know if it’s over.
If you want to develop your skills as a presenter, you can always google the term “presenter” or “public speaker”, but before you get lost on the internet, decide what you want to learn about. Do you already know your areas of weakness as a speaker? Have you received helpful feedback that will support your development in this area? The amount of time and effort you invest in developing your presentation skills should always be proportionate to the amount of time you expect to be delivering presentations.
If you’re looking for more information about how to deliver an effective presentation, sign up for a free webinar on our website.