In episode 477, professional speaker Diane DiResta shares invaluable tips and tricks to level up your presentations and boost your executive presence.
Build on your presentation skills to gain a competitive advantage in your career. Knowing how to present yourself and communicate well is crucial to any work environment. A great presentation could get you that job offer, promotion, or raise. As Dianne says, “It’s a leadership skill and no one can be without it anymore. It’s simply a must-have.”
Craft your presentations around what’s important to the audience. When you don’t keep your audience in mind, the result is often a presentation jam-packed with unnecessary information. Before practicing your presentation, ask yourself, “Who is my audience? What do they care about? And how do they like to receive information?” If your audience wants more information, then they’ll ask for it.
For the most effective presentations, Dianne suggests structuring your presentation like this:
- Start with something positive—what’s the dream, the goal you’re trying to achieve? Give your listeners an overview or an agenda, and save the small details for later.
- Then, identify the roadblocks—what’s in the way of the goal you’ve just described? Until your audience recognizes that there is a need or a challenge, they have no reason to buy or to act. Only by illustrating that need will they be open to hearing your solutions.
- Emphasize the problem, then bring in your recommendations. Talk about the benefits to THEM and not to YOU. What benefits does your audience care about?
Shift your focus away from yourself to conquer your fear of speaking. Nervousness is often self-centered. You’re worried about embarrassing yourself, messing up, or getting facts wrong. Instead, re-frame your mindset to focus on the audience and the message you want to give them. Contrary to what most think, the audience WANTS you to succeed! If you see someone in the crowd looking bored, don’t immediately think of a negative situation, just stop looking at them and find a friendlier face.
Align your actions, tone, and words to increase your executive presence. Work on ensuring that your body, your tone, and your words are giving off one consistent message. Make eye contact, project your voice, and use the appropriate language. When one of these goes out of sync, you give off a double message, confusing the audience. By aligning these three areas, you increase your confidence, boost your credibility, and build trust with your listeners.
Plan for your worst-case scenario and have recovery strategies in place. When it comes to worst-case scenarios, sometimes there’s nothing you can do. If there’s a fire drill, you have to leave. But when it’s under your control, use recovery strategies. A common worst-case scenario is having someone ask you a question you don’t know the answer to. In this case, Dianne suggests:
- Don’t fake it! If somebody in the room knows the answer, you’ll lose credibility. Nobody knows everything, so it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “I’m not 100% sure of that, but let me get back to you.”
- Deflect the question to an expert. “I’m not 100% sure of that, but let me turn it over to (name) because they’re the expert on that.” Use this technique sparingly though! You want to make sure that the person really IS an expert.
- Answer the question with what you DO know. “I’m not 100% sure of that. What I do know is…” and then talk about the aspect of the question that you’re familiar with.
Read / listen to the full episode here.