Last night I was talking to a friend at my local Toastmasters public speaking club when he talked about his challenge to make his work presentations more engaging. It transpired that he had recently received feedback that his delivery at work was “a bit flat” when giving a corporate presentation.
“I’d love to be able to bring some of the lessons I am learning in Toastmasters, into the corporate world but I am worried that it would not go down well.”
I knew, from having heard in speak a number of times previously, that he had made significant improvements, especially in terms of his delivery style. He varied his pace and tone more, and was more energetic and animated than he had been when he joined.
He was, however, still fearful of transferring this learning into the workplace.
Unfortunately, he had to leave early to catch a train, so I did not get the chance to speak to him after the meeting, but this is what I would have said.
1) Being fearful of adopting a more animated delivery style is perfectly normal and a common concern. However think about the high price you are paying to stay in your comfort zone. It is your fear that is stopping you from improving your work presentations, not a lack of skill, or ability.
3) You will never know how your colleagues will respond to a more energetic presentation delivery style unless you try it out with them. You need, in the words of Susan Jeffers, to “feel the fear and do it anyway.”
4) Remember that the current way you present is not working. You know this for a fact because you have received feedback to this effect from your colleagues. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing time after time and expecting to get different results. The truth is, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
5) Consider the personal and organisational benefits of becoming a more animated and engaging presenter. Good presenters get noticed for all the right reasons. Good presenters feel better about themselves. Good presenters are more influential and usually get promoted faster. By failing to confront your fears, you are short-changing yourself, your team and your employer.
So what do you think? Have you suffered from this fear? Have you conquered it? Would you suggest any other advice? If so why not share your thoughts in the comments box at the bottom of the page.
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