marketing + sales: 10 Challenges to Giving Presentations (and How to Overcome Them)
Whether you're delivering a formal speech, attending business meetings or answering questions for your boss, public speaking is an important part of your career. But newer salespeople might struggle with giving presentations. Many first-time speakers want to feel confident, want to engage their audience and want to feel good about actually giving their presentation. How can they achieve this?
In a survey taken by more than 50 business sales professionals during a presentation skills training workshop, key questions and concerns on how to become a confident public speaker were highlighted.
Here are their main concerns:
1. Does the audience really listen or do they just read the PowerPoint slides? It is good practice to keep your PowerPoint presentation under one hour and try to use slides only to enhance your speech. The less information you place on the slide the better—two to three bullet points work best. Don't read the slides, but rather, keep them simple and over a white background, as many people print out the presentation. Ask the audience for questions as you go along to keep people engaged.
2. How many head and hand movements are too many? Since more than half of all human communication takes place nonverbally, audiences judge speakers based on what they hear and what they see. It's important to have control over your body language. Movement has to be supportive of the message. Your head, eyes and facial expressions usually convey your true feelings, so it's important to communicate with sincerity to connect with your audience. Your hands can be used to express emotion and to emphasize a point—don't keep them in your pockets or behind your back.
3. How do I gain confidence and keep people entertained? It is important to talk about a subject you enjoy and know really well, so that you can improvise and keep presentations light. By being yourself and telling a personal story or using appropriate humor, the audience will relate to you better. Confidence comes with practice.