Career Woman

Tips for women on effective presenting

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Why is it that some women make it seem so effortless, while others are scared to death of getting up in front of a crowd?  There’s no easy answer, butmore often than not, much of the anxiety stems from not knowing if we are going to do a good job. There are things that can help a lot if you are not feeling good about your presentation experiences.

Unfortunately, we rarely get any real feedback other than, “That was good” or “You didn’t hit the mark.”  How can we improve if we never get any real feedback? When women first come to me for presentation coaching, they often say, “I want to be a good speaker,” or “I want to be a better speaker.”  But what does that really mean? The real question is, “How can you be effective?”

You may hear that a speaker was “good” or “funny” or “inspirational.” But did she accomplish what she set out to as a presenter? What message did the audience take away? If she achieved the goal of the presentation, she was effective.

How can you be an effective presenter?Here is one of my hot tips for delivering an effective presentation while lowering any anxiety. Check back in a future issue for more!

Feeling & connecting = impacting

If you are interested, passionate and truly care about your topic, you have the best chance of getting your audience to care. If they care, they can connect. If they connect, you can make an impact.  You can be effective.

Throughout the history of women in business, it was clear that we should make ourselves as devoid of emotion as possible. This is 2018; we aren’t talking about tears over typewriters. We’re talking about the ability to show passion and emotion about our subject matter.

Think about commercials that show children living in extreme poverty or sad puppies. This is a deliberate effort with the intent of eliciting the viewers’ emotions. People either feel something, or they turn it off because they don’t want to feel something. (Note: this method has been somewhat overused and many people have been desensitized to some of these long-running campaigns). The point is, they aren’t being academic about it; showing lots of numbers and statistics, etc. They are showing you babies and puppies and asking if YOU want to make a difference. The aim is to connect with you and to empower you to make a difference. They want you to feel.

How many times have you sat through long, boring presentations of graphs and charts and data and no one in the room, including the speaker, appears to actually care?

As women, especially those of us in still male-dominated businesses, we may feel like we have to stay 100% focused on sharing data in order to prove our knowledge and value. Don’t get me wrong; data is critical, of course. But it’s how you communicate it that makes the winning difference.

Have you ever heard this quote by Maya Angelou?

                                             “People will forget what you said; people
                                               will forget what you did; but people will
                                               never forget how you made them feel.”

Is there anything you can find in your presentation, that you truly care about,that inspires your message? What if you are a budget analyst in a large corporation and it is your job to present the monthly budget report. This month you are expected to present how the company is tracking towards the goal of reducing expenses by 10%. How can you make that presentation engaging? Is there an aspect of the expense reduction that impacts you or your co-workers? Do you find something fascinating about the results? Are you personally invested in any way? Search for these answers. Find something that you connect to and care about; because if you don’t, the audience won’t either.

Does reaching the 10%reduction in expenses mean that no one loses her job? Would it make you proud (emotion!) to be a part of that? If people lost their jobs because you did not reach the goal, would that make you sad (emotion)? What is personally important to you and why?

Once you can identify what you can relate to and how you feel about it, you will be effective in connecting with your audience. The most effective way to connect is to find a way to relate to the audience. It is surprising how often people don’t make an effort to do this.

All you hear is:

“Here’s who we are.
Here’s what we do.
Here’s what we sell.
Here’s why we’re great.”

                                                        “Pairing logic with emotion
                                                                 is the ultimate
                                                           persuasive combination.”

Effective presenters deliver information AND tap into emotions.  People connect through how they feel- not through data alone. This goes all the way back to Aristotle and his teachings on the value of theemotional appeal. He believed in “persuasion through passion.”

Emotion must be at the core of the message in some way: love, fear, pity, anger, excitement, honor, surprise, etc.Feelings ultimately drive action – not logic and reason alone.

About Deborah Weissman Ostreicher

Deborah Weissman Ostreicher is CEO, Distinguished Communications. Deborah Ostreicher credits her success in business largely to her ability to communicate effectively. She earned her MBA in International Business at the American University, Washington, D.C. and her certificate in Leadership Communications from Harvard University, Boston. She has over 25 years of experience in doing business around the globe, holding leadership positions in various organizations from high-tech and aviation to tourism and non-profits. She has presented in front of thousands of people and hosted several television and radio programs. Now she is sharing her secrets with you as a professional speech and leadership communications coach. Distinguished Communications empowers individuals, teams and companies through effective communication.

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