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Speak with Confidence

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Today’s tip is about how to access confidence in your next presentation. I’ve been training people in presentation skills for around a decade now, and what I’ve noticed is that a lot of people lack confidence when it comes to speaking in public.

It was about five years ago that I got my first little speaking gig running in my business. Two days after I delivered this presentation, I received a phone call from an executive. He said, “I really liked the ideas that you shared, Colin. I was wondering if you could speak at one of our ’transformational days.’ What we’re looking for is about 2.5 hours’ worth of presentation and specifically we’d love you to speak on career or personal development.” I remember asking him how many people might be in the presentation, and he said, “There probably will be about five thousand.” And I remember looking at him and just thinking: five thousand people. At which point I felt fear coming over me.

The first thought that came into my head was “I’ve definitely not charged enough because it works out to about half a cent per person.” Secondly, I thought, “That’s a lot of people. How am I going to do this?” Leading up to the presentation, I got to a point where I started to freak out. I said to my wife Sarah, “Babe, I’m freaking out about this presentation,” and she said to me, “For what purpose are you doing it?” Then I stopped and realised that I’d made this presentation about myself. I’d started to think What will they think of me? Will I be good enough? Will the content be good enough? — which is okay, but if I spent too long focusing on myself, I would start to get self-consumed and in fear. I realised that the purpose of my presentation was actually to add value, to have a meaningful conversation with someone that moved them to action.

So I’ve got three questions for you:

1. Can you have a conversation with someone? If the answer is yes, then you’re moving forward.
2. Can you have a meaningful conversation with someone? Can you share an idea or thought that’s meaningful.
3. Can you move someone to action? Have you ever given an idea to someone or shared something with a person at work and they’ve actually done something from it?

I think if you can do those three things, that’s how you access confidence in a presentation. Don’t view your presentation as a presentation; view it as a meaningful conversation that moves someone to action. When you attach meaning and a sense of purpose to your conversation, then it accesses confidence in you and gets you out of you and gets you focused on the engagement of the people and moving them to action.

That’s today’s tip.

I’ve got a question for you: What’s been the most helpful tip that you’ve ever had in gaining confidence in your presentation? Please share this in the comments below.

Look forward to speaking to you soon. Look after yourself.

Colin Boyd

 

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4 comments
    Andreas Thanks for the tips above. I especially love the idea of not making it about yourself and what others think of you, but the value you are able to add.
    A tip that helps me is to simply talk/present about a topic I’m passionate about. Passion causes desire to share and therefore automatically boosts my confidence. And in presentations where I can’t choose the topic (work related etc.) it is helpful to find at least some aspects that create personal enthusiasm, like adding value to people, making the topic more tangible, or simply getting another chance to present and better myself doing so every single time I do.
      Colin Boyd Andreas! this is a killer tip. Maybe i should get you to star in next weeks blog. Love it 🙂 thanks for sharing.
    Ben Pottinger Really loved the video! The content was great but what I really enjoyed the most was that it wasn’t a boring video read from a teleprompter like most videos these days. Hearing an “um” and seeing you actually think about what you say is great to see!

    In regards to my one tip, I learnt a handy one (like yours) from one of my mentors. When you’re talking about a topic that is related to your purpose, find ONE person in the crowd that you know is going to LOVE what you say. If you can present, add massive value, make them smile and enjoy the presentation, you’ve done well. Similar to your three stages (talk, engage & action).
      Colin Boyd Hi Ben, thanks so much for the positive feedback and taking the time, I love this idea of focusing on providing massive value. Getting out of the realm from focus on self into what you can contribute. Makes a huge difference for me. Keep up the great work!

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