Very few people are able to stand and talk confidently, clearly and credibly the first time they have to present. Everyone, even the best conference presenters, have nerves. In fact, the best speakers need that rush of adrenalin to provide the energy that sparks and inspires an audience. So, how do you acquire these skills? Actually, the only real way is to practice and practice and practice and then present, present, present. There is one technique that I have found very useful. Usually it is the “getting started” that is the most difficult part. I advise people to first learn their opening speech by heart. This allows the mouth to perform whilst the brain and emotions settle down. To help with remembering, use the acronym INTRO. This stands for:-
1. I = interest. Start with a sentence that gets the attention of the audience. A little-known fact, (I don’t advise a joke) or an interesting anecdote.
2. N = need. Why does the audience need to hear your presentation?
3. T = title. Sometimes this is forgotten because the presenter is so familiar with it – or it sits at the back of the presenter as slide wallpaper.
4. R = range. Outline what you are, and are not, going to cover. This saves people sitting waiting or interrupting you to ask a question that you are going to answer later.
5. O = objective. What points are you trying to get across? What will they know by the end of your presentation?
An Intro, as above, will clearly outline your topic and manage expectations. More importantly, it will support you in the opening sequence of your presentation and go a long way to establishing your credibility as a presenter.
This Week: This has been an exciting week for me and my business. I launched the Highflyingdivas Forum! One challenge I have been finding in setting up my own business is, who can I confide in? Who can act as my sounding board? Who will give me a “shake” when I need it? Where can I get a wealth of ideas to my personal challenges? I attended an Enterprising Women’s event and participated in a short exercise that inspired me to expand their format. The Highflyingdivas Forum is a coaching and mentoring network for professional women who are either employed, or have their own business. There will be regular events at which attendees are able to ask for mentoring on specific topics. The pooled brainpower in the room will respond by giving suggestions, recommendations and support. No membership fees, just a small charge to cover admin costs. I have also created a LinkedIn group for the Forum. Check both out. Highflyingdivasforum LinkedIn You can register for the first event on the 27th September in Colchester, Essex, at http://hfd.eventbrite.com
On Tuesday I attended the free Social Media Surgery organised by Wendy Dashwood-Quick and held at Writtle College in Essex. www.resolutioncoaching.co.uk/ This was one of a number of regular events. The evening was well-attended, and we were treated to practical and useful advice from Paul Gunter and Andrew Shorten of SEOEssex. They were fantastic, taking us through a step-by-step approach to improving our SEO (search engine optimisation (SEO) approach. Even better, advice that doesn’t require any financial outlay. I was one of the attendees who had the “honour” of a web-site review. It was, albeit embarrassing, very good and powerful to hear everyone’s views on my site. Paul and Andrew have also written an excellent book. See reading for this week below. Only one network even this week due to the organisation of my own! www.seoessex.co.uk/
Reading for the week: Paul Gunter and Andrew Shorten have written a short and very useful book with a very long title “How to fill your small business with non-stop customers,money, success and growth … leave every single one of your competitors scratching their heads down to the bone…and create great, great personal wealth quickly”. Presumably their publisher’s fee wasn’t based on the number of words in the title! One of the reviews says “It contains the essential fundamentals which underpin every marketing activity”. Need I say more?
Lighter Reflections: The school holidays continue and the well of creative ideas of how to entertain the little demon is rapidly drying up. We decided not to go camping in Cornwall and have since spent every weather forecast tv viewing with wicked grins on our faces as we see the torrential rain we have managed to miss. To gain inspiration, I searched the website for local activities for kids and found a Fire-lighting Bushcraft outing in Thorndon Country Park advertised. Now thoughts of little tykes running around with lighted matches in a forest doesn’t immediately spring to mind as a safe and enjoyable outing but I put my faith in the Rangers and booked us all to go. We duly collected Harvey, Guy’s friend, and set off with me nervously peering out the window at the trees gusting in the wind. We arrived and gathered around a cheerful Ranger, along with some dozen or so children of ages varying from 4 to 12. Parents nodded to each other, pursed lips and worried frowns somewhat eased by realising that they were not the only irresponsible parents encouraging their children to learn the art of setting a forest on fire. Of course, we needn’t have worried. The Ranger captivated the children with his engaging and lively talk and, through careful questioning, managed to instill the right balance of wariness and confidence in the task at hand. He set off in his landrover and we dutifully trudged along behind, until he stopped at a clearing. After showing us, Ray Mears style, “how it should be done”, our children were sent off in search of the required materials to light our own fire. Supervised at every stage, we managed to follow the instructions and stood back with great pride and a sense of achievement when our little fire started to burn. Up until this point, parents stood back to watch their children gather bark and twigs. As we started to watch the size of the fires around us, however, it was noticeable how parents were suddenly inspired to aid the wood-gathering exercise to ensure their offsprings’ fire was the biggest and brightest. This lasted until the Ranger handed a bucket of water to a child to douse out his fire and then of course, everyone wanted a bucket for this new activity. A thoroughly enjoyable experience which ended with my collecting all the leaflets available on future events at the Park. http://www.visitparks.co.uk/placestovisit/thorndoncountrypark.php
You can find more at http://ccconsulting.org.uk/
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