Imagine commanding the attention of 200 people in 5 seconds. I recently learned how to do just that.
As a recent(ish) graduate, my company likes to send me to extra training courses to further my development; it’s like an investment. They put the time and money into me, and I return the favour by becoming a better and more accomplished saleswoman. Most recently, I have learned how to hold my space and demand attention of an audience. As big believer of sharing knowledge, I’ve outlined my three main takeaway points from the session, in the hopes that you’ll learn and implement a new technique by the end of this post.
1. Power Posing
Commanding attention in a room full of like-minded people, or potential clients, or even bored 5-year-olds, is no easy feat. A great way to get people to sit up and pay attention is by nailing your posture, and standing so that you clearly have authority; but not too aggressively. It’s this balance that can be difficult to get right.
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart with your hands resting by your sides, and not in pockets, is a great start. It shows that you’re ready. Whether you are presenting, performing or just practicing, you need the audience to pay attention. Stand up tall (well, as tall as you can) and show them that you’re ready. They’ll be ready to listen.
2. Slides are Extras
A very common presenting mistake is to rely on the slideshow to convey the message. People often forget that the audience, firstly, can’t focus on two things at the same time, and secondly, is there to listen to the speaker.
A good powerpoint is one that reinforces your words, not one that acts as a second presentation. If you try to present using other media, such as flipchart diagrams, you’ll find that you are more comfortable and natural as a presenter. These things take time to practice, but as soon as you stop using slideshows as a crutch, you’ll be able to stand on your own two feet.
3. Confidence is Key
Your confidence is controlled by you, and you alone. Only you can decided to be and feel confident during a presentation. Honestly, if you know your stuff and have a good opening statement, then you don’t have any need to feel nervous anyway!
I know it’s difficult but try not to entertain the negative thoughts of your critical mind and just focus on the positives: you can do it; you’ve got their attention; you’ve nailed the material, time to nail the delivery. And if you haven’t managed to master the power of positive thinking, then it’s time to put your acting skills to the test, and just fake it. Fake it ’til you make it, and someone is bound to believe it.
Those are the three key messages I took away from the course, and I hope to implement them next time I give a presentation, be it a small meeting or a huge conference. Where I was once a presenter who let my slides outline the bulk of my message, I have since been transformed into a young woman with enough confidence in herself to believe that people will shut up and listen when I have something to say. Because it’s worth saying. And I am worth listening to. I hope you can use these steps to believe that you are too. After all, we certainly all have something to say.