Image of Simon Raybould - Presentation Genius, Presentation Training advice
03 September 2017
Why would anyone want to listen to your presentation?

I’m one of those odd people who quite likes public speaking. I would never sing in front of people (ever!), I don’t act or do a solo competitive sport, so there’s not much scope in my life to be in the limelight, unless I get up and speak.

I love speaking. I love the energy in the room, I love getting to meet new people, I love it when I get a positive response from my audience and thank yous at the end. At some very fundamental level I love the feedback and reassurance I get, it’s good for the ego. It’s also bloody scary, but it’s a good fear and I’m sure some adrenaline is good for the soul!

However, the real reason I love speaking is because it helps people.

In  just a quick half hour talk they can come away with new marketing ideas, or confidence in their sales ability or ideas for how to get better at social media. My words can really help and have an impact, and as someone who has a business aimed at helping small businesses get better at their marketing that’s a win!

In  just a quick half hour talk they can come away with new marketing ideas, or confidence in their sales ability or ideas for how to get better at social media. My words can really help and have an impact, and as someone who has a business aimed at helping small businesses get better at their marketing that’s a win!

There’s another reason I speak. It’s tremendous marketing!

I do deliver paid training such as my #MarketingForMummies course, but I also aim to speak for free at least twice a month to local business groups. If I look at the mumpreneurs who have been on #MarketingForMummies about 80% saw me speak and then booked onto the course!

So do you speak? Could you make speaking part of your marketing?

I’d take a guess that you’d still rather do karaoke (you crazy person – why???!!) or run naked through your local Tesco than speak in public.

But I’d love to encourage you to consider it – WI groups, local schools, business groups, sports clubs… there will be a group of people relevant to your business who would really benefit from hearing you speak and who may be future customers.

It’s free marketing, what have you got to lose?

Still not convinced? Still feeling sick at the thought? I thought so!

I predicted that, so I’ve invited Simon Raybould to explain why people do want to hear you speak and how to get over your nerves,

Simon is one of the UK’s most in demand speakers and trainers on presentation skills, Chair of the North East’s Professional Speaking Association and all round top bloke. It’s really quite an honour to have him gracing my mumpreneur-business focussed blog so I urge you to read, digest, act upon and share.

Over to Simon…

The fear of standing out is more or less universal.

It’s an inbuilt instinct that’s served us well for hundreds of millions of years.

It’s less helpful now, unfortunately, but that doesn’t mean we can just turn it off. It’s built into us because being the same as everyone else in our ‘tribe’ is safe. Being different might be better or it might get us killed – we just don’t know… but being the same as everyone else self-evidently works, because, well, they’re not dead.

It’s as simple as that.

But when you’re running your own business, you’ve got to stand out. If you don’t you die (metaphorically this time, fortunately!).

Here are three simple things to think about, that might help you brace yourself and step up to speak about your fledgling company.

It’s not about you

Sorry, but it’s not. Get over yourself. No one comes to hear you, unless you’re mega-famous. Your audience aren’t even thinking about you. To be even more brutal they’re not thinking of your business. They’re generally thinking one thing – just one – and that’s a question: “what’s in it for me?”. That means that they’re not going to judge your presentation style or skill. They won’t even notice it unless it actively gets in the way of them thinking “I could use that…”.

What have you got to lose?

Cast your mind back to when you were young. There’s someone you really, really like.  And I mean realllllly like.  You want to ask them out but you daren’t! Why not? In case they say no, of course.

But seriously, what did you have to lose? If they said “no”, how are you any worse off than if you’ve not asked them?! (And now you know they’re not interested, you’re free to move on to find someone more worthy of your attention!) Sometimes you just ask yourself what you’ve got to lose – and decide if it’s worth the risk.

I often talk about the decision to make a presentation a bit like playing poker.  You weigh up the odds of losing your matchsticks (you only ever bet matchsticks, right?) against the likelihood of winning more matchsticks. If you don’t take calculated risks ever, you can’t win.

But on the other hand you can’t play every hand, either, so ask yourself: what have I got to lose and what are the risks. Trade them off in your head against the benefits.

Then consciously mitigate the risks, instead of pretending they’re always, fatal, all-out-killers!

Ride your bike

How did you learn to ride a bike?  You just got on it and belted down a mountainside at 45 miles per hour, first time, right? Oh, what?  You didn’t?  You had help?  You used stabilisers?  Really?  You mean… <whisper it!> you’re normal – just like everyone else?!

Shocker! 😉

So why is it that you expect yourself to be first-time-perfect when you present? What are your presentation stabilisers? What about your presentation equivalent of learning to ride on flat-roads-with-no-traffic?

Sit yourself down with a pen and paper for quarter of an hour and think about how to make it safer. Find your stabilisers. Stop pretending to yourself you need to be a Presentation Genius first time out!

Wrapping it up

There you go. Three things to think about before you throw your arms up in the air and say you can’t make presentations!

One last parting shot though – because after all of this it’s still scary. And that’s good.

Scared means you care. If you’re not scared, you don’t care enough.

Massive thanks to Simon for his advice.

You can find more about Simon at his website and blog: Presentation Genius (and buy his book too).

If you’re thinking about speaking more I really do recommend learning from Simon; I do! I’m a member of the North East’s Professional Speaking Association and learn from Simon each month as he’s our Chair.

A great place to start is Simon’s best selling book (please note this is an affiliate link and I get a small percentage of the sale price if you buy from this link 🙂 ).