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Want to Be a Good Presenter? Get Out of Your Way!

In 2018, we coached hundreds (maybe thousands) of people to become better presenters and communicators. They came from every industry, every level of professional experience, had wildly different goals, had varying levels of presentation experience; but as different as they were, they had one thing in common – they were nervous.

The thing about nerves, we all have them. A quote we love and share in our programs summarizes the sentiment perfectly:

“There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.” – Mark Twain

Although we can’t ‘fix’ your nerves, we can help you become a more effective presenter. How? By teaching and coaching you on a skill set you can rely on when the nerves are in full swing. What you may not realize is that the nerves become overwhelming because you don’t have fundamental skills to fall back on or strategies to pursue when you’re in the thick of it. Your voice is low and shaky, but you don’t know how to even out your tone. Your eye contact is lacking but you don’t know how to focus on your audience. You’re tripping over your words, but aren’t sure how to settle in to a comfortable pace.

When you don’t know how to ‘solve’ the nerves, you exacerbate them. Before you know it, you’re done presenting and aren’t sure if the audience was engaged or if they got the point at all. If you relate to this situation, and you’ve also ended a speech or presentation by saying “Phew, I’m glad that’s over!”, you can be sure you’re getting in your own way when it comes to being an effective presenter.

So, what do you do about it? Learn and practice. Like any new skill set you’re trying to acquire, you need to first learn it. Find a credible coach or program, such as ours here at Vautier Communications, to teach you the skills. Then, it’s up to you to practice those skills in situations that matter. At times, it’s going to feel like a long and tedious process. You’re attempting to change a set of behaviors and thought-patterns that have sustained you for many years. But once you acknowledge that those behaviors and thoughts are not helping, and are in fact hurting, you’re on your way to making a great positive change.

If you’ve been through our program or worked with us individually, keep practicing. Review the materials we provided, watch the retention video, and pick one thing you want to consciously practice. Once that skill is working for you, pick another.

If you’ve never worked with a Communications Coach or taken a training program to improve your presentation skills, sign up immediately. Acknowledge that you need to learn the skills of presenting and won’t feel confident at the front of the room until you do. Believe it or not, you can get to a place where you’re excited to present – all because you trust the skills you’ve acquired and practiced, and you know your nerves won’t get the best of you.

Jenny Dziubla