August 2, 2017
Have you ever attended a conference or a training session and thought to yourself, “this message just makes everything click into place?” This week I attended an optional training session at Hanapin about how to deliver presentations with ease and confidence. The topic intrigued me because who wouldn’t want to learn as many tricks as possible to improve future presentations and also look good while doing so? I had no idea what I got myself into while I listened to Ron Lewis from The Lewis Influence talk about what he does to give his audience the right information at the right time. No joke, I came home and told my husband who is a lawyer how some of the tips I learned could help him in the courtroom. The jury is still out if he is going to incorporate any of the freebies I shared with him, but I am going to share my top 3 takeaways with you from Ron Lewis at @FirstGenTwins about how to go into a client call, a strategy pitch, or presenting at a conference with a bit more confidence.
Whenever I start feeling anxious about a client call or am pitching a new idea to a supervisor I will mentally list out all of the things that could possibly go wrong. Now, this is obviously the best method to continue getting yourself worked up instead of calming you down before your big moment. If you are going to worry and list things that could happen, try breaking the items between what you can and what you can’t control. Lewis describes your presentation prep as two circles, one within the other and each circle represents two types or variables. The outside circle, the Circle of Concern contains all of the things you can worry about but you don’t have any control over these items. If you are going to focus on a circle, make it the inner circle, the Circle of Influence because this circle contains what you can control about the presentation.
For example, you can’t control the temperature of the room, the initial attitude of the client, and at times even your audience. Instead of worrying about these things, focus on what you can do to make a great presentation. You can have a great attitude, show lots of enthusiasm, pick a topic you are passionate about, know your material, and dress for the occasion. If you go in with a great attitude and show a genuine passion for your message, your chances of success increase significantly. Instead of worrying about the Circle of Concern, prepare yourself for what you can do for the event. Also, don’t overlook dressing for the part. If you are dressed in an outfit that makes you feel good and feel confident it will give you an extra pep in your step.
Now that you put the Circle of Concern out of your mind, you might make the mistake of trying to make the perfect presentation. That might sound weird, saying that “perfect” is a mistake in your efforts to impress your audience. This will be a hard pill to swallow for some people, but the word perfect does not exist in the tangible world. When getting your topic ready, spend your time being effective. The notion that you will deliver something that is perfect could lead you down a rabbit hole of tweaking your wording or your PowerPoint until the end of time. Instead of striving for something that is abstract, strive for getting your message across as effectively as possible. Not only will this save you time but it will also keep you on track with the message you are trying to convey.
Before Ron Lewis started his presentation, he asked everyone in the room what they didn’t like about presenting and a majority of the people said that public speaking just makes them nervous. Being nervous is okay because it means that you care about the presentation and how it could help the people you are sharing this information with. Even though being nervous is normal, it doesn’t mean that you show you are nervous or tell the room about being nervous. Don’t acknowledge that you are nervous. The audience only knows what you share with them, and if you don’t tell them you are nervous they will never know. If something happens in the presentation, such as skipping a slide in your presentation deck, don’t get frustrated and instead ask if you can go back to that slide because you want to cover the slide in more depth. By being prepared beforehand, it will allow you not to miss a beat when a tech issue or some other distraction could take you away from your message and your delivery.
Another reason people in the training said they were nervous is that they weren’t sure they were comfortable delivering information as an expert. If you are asked to speak at a conference or pitch strategy to a new or current client, you were asked for a reason. You owe it to yourself to see yourself as an expert if you are asked by peers or superiors to do so. If you are still struggling to see yourself as an expert, think back to some of your favorite teachers you had in school and recollect some of the reasons why you liked that teacher. Most likely, the teachers you remembered the most knew their material, loved teaching the topic, they cared about their students’ growth, and they asked questions to make sure you understood the material. By thinking of your previous teachers as experts and by borrowing their teaching techniques you will start believing that you are an expert in your area as well.
Chances are you are wondering how you can use these 3 tips with your PPC clients. I used the word presentation a lot throughout this blog, but the majority of these ideas have already helped with my weekly client calls. During calls, I talk about performance and ideas on how I can drive the account forward with a new strategy or tactic. This might sound pretty generic but by preparing these calls as a small presentation I feel more confident, my content is more organized, and my client is hearing why the information I am presenting is important and how it will affect them. Whether you are preparing for a client call, client visit, or your next presentation at a PPC conference please use my top 3 takeaways and I highly encourage you to also reach out to Ron Lewis because he has more tricks up his sleeve!