Business Presentations: Why Being Confident When Presenting Is Not Enough

Chances are that whatever your business at some stage you will be have to do some sort of business presentation and this happened to the wife of a friend of mine recently. Sue was promoted and told that from now in her new role she would be expected to present to their CEO on a regular basis. She expressed her trepidation to her line manager and asked if she could do some presentation skills training and was given this advice ” You don’t need presentation skills. You just need to be confident, that’s all. And if you’re not confident just do it and the more you do it the more confident you will be.”

If only this were true! because if confidence was the only thing needed to be successful then every young man I have ever taught would now be an international footballer and everyone would be a winner on the X-Factor.

Now you may have been given advice similar to this or heard others say it…. (and by the way it’s usually men who give this type of advice).

And I’m sure you will have come across speakers/presenters who are very confident but are actually really boring to listen to, who ramble on because they’re so taken up with what they have to say.

Does it stem from arrogance or ignorance? I’m not sure.

What I do know is that confidence by itself it will only get you so far. Yes, you do need to be confident to stand up in front of a group of people. You also have to be able to deliver your message in a way that connects, engages and excites your audience because if you don’t, all the confidence in the world won’t make it a success.

There is so much untapped potential in many of the business presenters I see and they don’t realize that just by tweaking a word here, a gesture there, they could make so much more of an impact. They often don’t realize that they are actually self sabotaging by giving off mixed messages.

One of the biggest obstacles there is to becoming outstanding at business presenting and public speaking is this failure to realize that you need to learn the skill set to do it effectively. There’s a lot more to it than simply standing up and talking.

And no matter how good you are, or think you are, there is always room for improvement, there is always something else to learn.

The key to becoming an outstanding speaker, in the same way as becoming outstanding at anything, is to become more self-aware.

And the first steps to doing this are:

1. Know which things you do really well when you are presenting.

2. Identify which elements you need to improve.

(To help you to do this ask someone you know and trust to give you honest feedback. Better still ask an experienced presentation skills trainer).

3. Learn how to make these elements better by working with an experienced presentation skills trainer or coach

4. Put what you have learned into practice.

and in that way you will develop and hone your skills because being an outstanding presenter is simple when you learn and develop the know- how.

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