How to Present Your Business Effectively

Expert Author Susan Leigh
Many businesses now require that their senior staff are able to present themselves and their business expertise to clients and customers in either meetings or forum situations. To achieve promotion and success in business, staff have to be able to demonstrate competency in this field. The truth is, it can be quite a large stumbling block for many people.
Presentations and talking to an audience are one area where many articulate, intelligent people find themselves full of fear and dread. Reminiscent of the school room, making a mess of an answer and finding all the other children laughing and sneering, many people want to protect themselves from that level of exposure and vulnerability. Some people are able to override those feelings. Other people begin to sweat, choke on their words, become dry mouthed, have a mental block. As a Counsellor and Business Coach I work with my clients to discover ways of remedying this situation and moving on from it.
We work with techniques to learn how to reinforce confidence and self belief. Self hypnosis is a powerful tool for imagining how we want to be, would like to be in that presentation situation. It does not matter where it is, from a best mans' speech to a huge function or dinner, seeing that image of ourself, relaxed, comfortable, enjoying being centre stage for a time, can really build a strong sense of comfort and well being. Imagine feeling relaxed, taking your time, pausing to enjoy the moment and let the audience digest what has been said, all these thoughts take the pressure off the situation and yourself.
Positive self talk is a good technique too. Avoid phrases with the word 'not' in them. Focus on your internal chatter. Many people find that they are saying things like, 'I am not stressed/ tense/ anxious'. It is more positive to say 'I can do this', 'I have practised this and know what to say' ' I am familiar with my subject and know what I want to say'.
The truth is, if things do not go quite to plan, usually the people in the room are supportive. Many of them will have been in similar situations and are able to appreciate the stress of being centre stage and empathise with you. Also, no one knows exactly what should have been said, so going slightly off point is not the end of the world. Stop and have a drink of water, breathe in and out, find your place in your notes and start again.
Sometimes people find that having too many notes or a tightly scripted speech is far too inflexible. I find that many of my clients perform far better when they have bullet points to remind them of each section of the talk. They have usually been working on the content for some time and so know the subject very well. Keeping a marker on each section of the talk and moving through each item one at a time is often far less restrictive as they begin to speak.
On a practical level, it is often a good idea to arrive a little early to the presentation venue. Familiarise yourself with the room, its layout, the seating arrangements. Check that any equipment is working. Get a glass of water and any other aids handy.
Once the talk has started find some friendly faces in the crowd. They are a good place to focus because these are the people who will nod encouragement or agreement from time to time. Then relax and enjoy your moment in the spotlight, your opportunity to show how well you can do.

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