Present for Success: Simple Strategies to Add Confidence and Credibility to Your Next Presentation

Tomorrow’s the day and you’re dreading it. You’re scheduled to give a presentation to the senior management team about the new program you’re proposing. You’re excited and enthusiastic about the program but nervous and anxious about the presentation. You don’t know how you’ll manage to sleep tonight. These thoughts keep running through your mind; What if I stumble? What if I talk too fast? What if they get bored? What if they ask questions and my mind goes blank?

Do any of these sound familiar? If you answered yes, don’t worry! Try some of these simple strategies for your next presentation to help you build confidence and credibility with your audiences.

Developing your presentation

Change the paradigm: Think from your listeners’ perspective.

If you can change your focus from, “What do I want to communicate?” to, “What does the audience need to hear and understand?” you can be a more relevant and engaging presenter. By focusing on your listeners’ needs, rather than on yourself, you can relax and let that focus guide you through the development and delivery of your presentation.

Here are the essential questions that will help you stay on track:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What is most important to them?
  • What is their current level of knowledge on your topic?
  • What do they want or need to know about this topic?

If you can’t answer the above questions, it’s important that you do some research to find the answers. If your presentation is an educational or training session, you might want to send out a pre-class questionnaire or survey to learn the current knowledge level of your audience. This can be a simple 5 to 10-question, one-page document that you email or fax. If your presentation is more informational or persuasive, you might want to make some phone calls to learn what you can about your audience.

What’s your objective?

Every presentation you give should have an objective or purpose. Why? Because your objective will help ensure that you stay focused on the topic. And, by defining your objective in the beginning of the development process, you’ll save time.

Structure

Utilize a presentation structure that consists of a beginning, middle and end. In presentation language these components are called the opening, body and close. The purpose of the opening is to introduce yourself and your topic. The opening gives a short preview of the information you plan to cover. You may also want to include some startling data or a quotation. The main purpose of the opening is to get your audiences’ attention. The body of the presentation contains the main ideas and details you want to convey, while the close is the ending. During the close, you may wish to provide a summary of your main points to help the audience remember them. Also, any action items of follow-up information should be in the close.

Delivering your presentation

About nervousness

Most people feel nervous and anxious before giving a presentation. This fear and anxiety can start the minute they’ve been given the assignment and can last until the presentation is over. It’s important that we accept the fact that we’re going to be nervous and learn how to work with it. Try this three-step process developed by Lee Glickstein of Speaking Circles International to ease your nerves:

1. Feel your feet on the ground.

This will help to set a firm foundation for you and has a calming effect.

2. Breathe. And, most importantly, notice that you are breathing.

Most of us when we are nervous or anxious tend to hold our breath and that only makes us feel worse.

3. Speak every word to the eyes and heart of another human being.

Every time you stand in front of any audience, you are building a relationship. If you want people to listen and pay attention to you, you have to listen and pay attention to them. By having a more personal connection with your audience you will develop rapport faster. By looking at people individually, not seeing a group, you can be more relaxed and at ease. Try to have a one-on-one conversation with everyone in the room.

Five strategies to project confidence

1. Reduce your usage of filler words.

Filler words are words that we say unconsciously that add no meaning to our communications. Examples of filler words are um, uh, ah, okay, so, you know, well, but, like, etc. The big problem with filler words is that if you use them frequently, they tend to chip away at your credibility and can make you sound unsure and unprepared. To start reducing usage, you first have to become aware of when and how frequently you use them. The best way to do this is to either audiotape or videotape yourself giving a presentation. Then listen, or better yet, have someone else listen to the tape for filler words. Provide a checklist of filler words and ask the reviewer them count how many you use. It’s fine to use one here and there–using them repeatedly is the problem. Once you have an awareness of which filler words you use, you can start trying to reduce them. Substitute a pause where the filler words would normally occur and your listeners will thank you.

2. Be aware of body language and posture.

Just as mother used to say, stand up straight. Posture is important. Walk with erect posture and confident strides. Also have an awareness of your body language. Show confidence with an open body position. This means hands at your sides not crossed in front of you or hidden in pockets. Keep your hands where the audience can see them and use gestures for emphasis.

3. Remember that you are the expert.

You probably know more than your audience does about your topic. That puts you at an advantage and should instill confidence. Remember, though, to be relevant. You need to know your audience’s level of knowledge on your topic so you can start where they are.

4. Keep your cool when things get hot.

No matter what happens, keep your composure. If you are using technology, be warned: It is bound to malfunction just when you need it most. For peace of mind, have a Plan B ready just in case. If you can think in advance about what might go wrong, and have a contingency plan ready, you can continue and keep your cool. Every presenter has a personal horror story of how the laptop or projector crashed in the middle of their presentation. Be prepared.

5. Have a good time.

If you are having a good time, chances are, so is your audience. Put a smile on your face and be excited and enthusiastic in your delivery. You will breathe life even into dull subjects and help your listeners be engaged in your talk.

The close

I hope you’ll practice some of the strategies listed here. Don’t feel that you have to do all of them during your next presentation. You might want to think about what your biggest presentation challenge is and pick one improvement that you’d like to make. I can guarantee that you’ll feel more confident as you incorporate and practice these suggestions. And remember: Do what you can to enjoy your time at the front of the room and your audiences will enjoy you.

Response to the Present Mobile App Development Trends

Technology has been evolving at a brisk pace. One can state that the mobile applications have literally surpassed expectations and resulted in something drastically new. Every year the mobile platforms are housing innovations which have helped end users with several options for information access irrespective of their location.

Most companies who are developing mobile apps are making use of the existing software and technology but a new vision and innovation to the same. Most of the apps are targeted for a sizeable group of people in different sectors, including new businesses as well. The increase in demand of mobile apps has been feeding the requirement for developers and has also prompted the ushering of new talent in the field. The investment for the field has been humungous and with new platforms and integration with social scenario, one can expect a lot of things this year.

The rise in gaming and social apps was expected after the surge in the demand of a social background and connections with people all over the world. The mobile platforms right from Android to IOS to Blackberry and a few more have been keen to bring in new options for digital socialism and the new focus has been on content sharing. Content sharing is expected to boost user experience than ever before. A lot of multimedia avenues are open including pictures, videos and songs which has taken over the mobile internet. It is time for content sharing to extend to various spheres of our work including notes sharing and information sharing.

Mobile Payment apps are on the rise too and even banks are keen to explore this avenue to boost their revenue. Mobile wallet has mostly competed head-on with conventional methods of payment and has been the preferred way for quick transactions. The wallet is expected to overtake the notion of credit and debit card payment and extend it to new scenarios. A single click is now possible for payment of bills. Most bills are now been paid online through the mobile.

App stores have witnessed great apps for businesses and individuals. Businesses are now using apps which help them in streamlining their business along with customization of their sales and strategies too.

Cloud computing has seeped into the mobile app development field and with its strengthening security options, it has been easy for customers to opt for these options. Location specific apps have also assisted many users to make use of good information and services based on preferences, gender and other factors.

In the work area, mobile apps have facilitated mobile workers to remain connected and engaged with the ERP systems installed in the company. Each tailored application has helped the workers to connect, upload and fetch information faster, especially with the need for real-time need of services. Depending on a futuristic mobile platform for a better future is a must. Also, the apps of the future ought to deliver innovative apps which are much more enhanced and interactive in reality. The present trends even dictate a future for artificial intelligence by way of simulated virtual reality programs and the like.

Why Knowing Your Past Is Important For Your Present

I am reading a fascinating book right now called, “What Disturbs Our Blood”. It is a true story of a man desperate to uncover the deep dark family secret of what happened to his grandfather – a prestigious and highly respected physician. After watching his own father, also a highly regarded physician, attempt suicide the author realizes that he must understand more about his paternal line or risk facing a similar slide into severe depression. The author who is a journalist, does an impressive search of his family history which takes him from Ontario to Ireland and then from coast-to-coast across the United States and Canada. His findings confirmed his suspicions that his grandfather also took his own life. Both his grandfather and father were at the pinnacles of their careers and showed no signs of an impending deep depression. It is armed with this information that the author not only wants to celebrate the significant accomplishments in bacteriology and immunology by his father and grandfather but it provides him with the motivation to start dealing with his own demons before they take hold of him.

The book inspired me to once again consider my own family history. Several years ago I started some genealogical work but quickly ran into dead ends. The family history on my Dad’s side (paternal) is incredibly muddy and the elder generation is either in no mood to talk about the history or has blocked it out. Undeterred, I hired a genealogist but without any leads from those alive, she ran into the same dead ends. I have learned enough to know why the history on my paternal side is rarely discussed but I also learned that my blood line are not as WASPy as I once thought. On my Dad’s side I am a mix of English, Irish, and German. Recently, I received an email from a distant cousin whom I have not met but she explained that my great, great, great grandfather was a shoemaker and is buried in Hull, Quebec. This might explain my shoe fetish and attraction to Quebec!

Beyond the somewhat trivial findings one can dig up with a genealogical search, it can be useful for examining health patterns in your family. If, like the author of “What Disturbs Our Blood” you find a significant history of mental illness, it might prompt you to consider your own health status. Similarly, one might find genetic links to diseases like cancer, heart disease or multiple sclerosis. Since most diseases are expressed as a result of genetic and epigenetic factors, a significant lifestyle change could alter the course of your life. It is funny how the older you get, knowing about where you come from seems more important. As Carl Sagan once said, “You have to know the past to understand the present.”