There are people that can and people that can't apparently....and I get that in some ways; natural extroverts who can perform under the spot-light at the drop of a hat and offer entertaining informing and effective presentations do exists but they are a lot thinner on the ground than you might think...
It is possible to make yourself into a very able presenter, to manage the nerves, understand the mechanics of being effective and interesting and actually come to quite enjoy them rather than dreading them and avoiding them like the plague..
I suggest that you ask yourself a few basic questions every time you are asked to present:
You also need to understand what kind of presentation you are delivering:
You will conclude that probably it is a mixture of a few of the key aspects above. Your Personal Brand Influence is simply how you can impact the presentation being successful by offering your unique delivery to the words and images and that is about the music of your voice, your animation (hands and body) your eye contact, your movement around the space, your smile and your presence....all of these are key to being noticed, entertaining, persuading and effective.
Worried that you might not have then star quality to wow and audience? Well there are some key ingredients that always impress and engage; professionalism and humour in the right mix, you can get an audience on side with both in the right measure depending on who they are and what they want from the presentation. Your call but judge it right and you will have them interested! Also jeopardy, meaning what happens if....they don't buy, agree or engage with your product / concept. Tell them a story, everyone loves a good story, make it interesting but give it a sting, the what happened when...sting that underpins your argument...also practice the living daylights out of your words and actions, make them natural but use your script, picture prompts and actions to underline your point, be lucid and confident and they will naturally want to listen.
Confidence is about knowing what you aim to say, how you will say it and having purpose. Introvert or extrovert aside, practice does make perfect but a sense of purpose really is the key. Authenticity and personal investment all reap huge rewards and as the old adage says 'people buy from people' it is true and you have the power to control that in your audience.
Most of all have fun with it; enjoy the fact that you can have a real and lasting impact on the audience in terms of their reaction to, thoughts about and actions after your presentation. We offer one to one presentation / performance coaching that really can make a huge difference, based on the above principles and the support of expert and informed observation, feedback and skills development. It does not need to be something you dread in fact it can be something you relish and thrive at...
copyright Paul Goring 2014
Sounds like something a wise man once said doesn't it? A wise man may well have said it but so did I and I continue to say it to any career coaching client who I work with; experienced professional, graduate or school-leaver and I want to explain why these few words are so key to you getting what you want from your career.
Let's be clear I am not advocating saying anything in your CV or interview performance that is untrue, far from it, what I am encouraging is that we all learn to amplify our message to employers by being comfortable in saying positive, upbeat and impressive things about ourselves.
There is a particularly English / British tradition that modesty is a laudable quality, that to be loud and obvious is somehow crass and a little distasteful. I agree that clumsy and obvious self-promotion can be counter-productive and at worst annoying but that is not what I am advocating here; I am saying to everyone that is frustrated by being overlooked, a close second to the successful candidate or by the lack of progression in their career that you need to forget false or real modesty and begin to think about everything you say and write being part of an accumulated PR strategy that will help you to tell the world how brilliant you are!
It is not about dwelling on any of the descriptions that have been used to keep people in their place...it's not 'showing off', it's not 'being big headed' and is certainly not 'boastful' it is simply being your own biggest fan and being able to lucidly and convincingly tell the world about the great things you have done, can do and want to do.
People generally speaking love to meet authentic, confident, lucid and interesting people. Whether that is in the pub, on holiday, in work or in an interview. People remember people who are able to demonstrate their self-confidence and their skills with strong examples and body language, voice, eyes, smile and posture that all back up the content. It is liberating not to be always worried about what people think of how you are saying something when you come to terms with the fact that it is what you are saying that they will focus on.
If you fail to flag up something that is important and relevant because you don't want to show off then who wins? If the CV next to yours on the desk or the person after you in the interview is able to show what they can do and do it in a proud and confident and persuasive way then who wins?
Modesty is the enemy of opportunity - all candidates need for the sake of their own futures to be able to suspend their modesty and get the message across in no uncertain terms......
After spending a hugely enjoyable and productive afternoon with three graduate trainees last week; it has inspired me to want to talk about the powerful experience that we shared when talking about their personal brands and exploring their communication styles at work.
I have in the past blogged alot here and elsewhere about Personal Brand mentioning the work I did with Angie Belcher at The Brand Button on developing the Personal Brand Wheel, which you can see here also; but the immediacy of a training session really brought home to me the ultimate questions that those of us seeking to understand, connect and influence others should be asking...’how does the world experience me’ ?
The first stage in the this exploration is of course to ask that question – if you are not bothered enough to ask the question then you will not be receptive to finding out the answer and that is the key to the whole piece. I guess the simplest comparison is that when we talk, act or communicate in any way imagine that we are throwing a pebble (or huge boulder!) into the ‘water’ that is around us; that water could be the team, office, company or industry we work in.
Now for some people that ‘pebble’ will cause some slight ripples that they understand and are prepared to work with because it’s you and they know what the authentic you is...however for others even the smallest pebble can create a tidal wave of emotional responses that can cause damage, of either short or long term impact. What understanding how the world experiences you is about is knowing that ripples are caused and then doing something about it if indeed something needs to be done...
That kind of metaphor is all very good but what does it mean in real terms? Well let’s look first at Personal Brand. Being you authentically is great – people get you and know what they will get from you. Those who know you that is...what about poeple you are meeting for the first time? People who do not have a track record of experiencing you? That is when the second crucial A-word of personal brand comes in to play – Appropriate....that is all about turning your control dials up or down to make sure that the behaviour / message you are communicating is right for the circumstances. I guess that people who say ‘well that’s just me take it or leave it’ will have stopped reading already or maybe they haven’t, that would be great!
So it is what others can expect from you that matters; if you are always in the middle of things at a party but are found alone in a corner others will certainly ask ‘are you ok?’ even if you are fine; you have created a brand that brings with it expectations from the rest of us. The same thing applies when we write a CV, complete an interview or perform in an assessment centre probably more critically than if we have a longer time to express our brand....people build expectations on the clues you give them and then expect you to meet them.
OK so those of us that are interested in this will understand that as a brand we bring a package of behaviours and styles that others will learn to understand and expect. But the biggest compliment we can pay someone else is to think, ‘I am not like you and I want you to feel comfortable / understand me / connect with me and so I am going to be flexible to help that to happen’ but how....
This is where the communication styles work of Bolton and Bolton comes to mind. You have your Drivers, Expressives, Amiables and Analysts all with a style, needs and priorities. Understanding who you are communicating with and what they need is crucial to the generous act of flexing your style.
Fast paced decision makers, impatient with those that can’t keep up. They prefer speedy actions based on their opinions and will rectify mistakes later. They are practical, calm and get things done quickly. Seen by others as demanding and always goal/work orientated. May need to listen more and slow down sometimes....
Fast moving and adventuresome and they like new ideas and creativity. They prefer to create a vision and then persuade others that it is the right one. They are energetic, enthusiastic, entertaining and risk takers. Seen by others as gamblers, impulsive, high speed and persuasive. May need to accept rules, deadlines and real world factors more....
Considerate and supportive of others; they want time to build rapport and focus on the team. The seek agreement and broker solutions with the group – they want everyone to be happy. They specialise in compassion, loyalty and building trust. Others see them as trustworthy, kind, strong on people skills and not self-promoting. May need to think more about their own needs and deal with conflict better?
Cautious and thoughtful; they like to have all of the facts before committing to an action. They seek to minimise risk by being thorough before deciding what to do. Specialists in precision, accuracy and objective thought; can be seen by others as a little detached sometimes, rational and cool but always reliable and accurate. May need to learn when to pick up the pace and trust more.
Think about the times when you have been which ever one of these that you usually are; I know its simplistic but bear with me and now think about whether you could have been more flexible and achieved a better result by trying to understand what the other persons' natural style was and what was important to them?
I am not preaching at you but just introducing the idea that an authentic and appropriate personal brand is hugely important but so is being a generous and flexible human being and I guess I am saying that if you can combine the two then you have got something special going on!
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