Mastering the art of presenting

By Helena Young, Communications and PR Executive


If you were asked why you do the job that you do, you could probably reel off a whole list of things you love about your work. However, if you had to specify your least favourite part of your role, what would you say?

If ‘presenting’ is at the top of the list, then you’re not alone. Speaking in front of a group can often feel unnatural, pushing you out of your comfort zone and sparking anxiety.

We’ve heard the same fears from our clients time and time again, even among those at board level – I rush when I’m nervous; I waffle; I feel awkward; I lose my flow and forget what to say; I’m unprepared for difficult questions. These hindering thoughts are common and negative self-talk will hold you back.

But there’s good news. Public speaking doesn’t have to be such a daunting task – done well, it can be a tool to help you drive forward projects that you are passionate about by obtaining the backing you need.

Consider the ‘Six Ps’ to make sure your next presentation packs a punch:

1.      Purpose: know your audience and their expectations, so you can tailor messaging accordingly. What’s your ‘so what’ - what do you want people to feel or believe at the end of your presentation?

2.      Planning: consider practicalities such as getting to the venue, what the facilities are like (e.g. does it have wi-fi?), whether you’ll need a microphone and what you should wear. That way you’ll avoid any nasty surprises.

3.      Preparation: be a storyteller. Prepare key messages and ensure your narrative has a clear beginning, middle and end. Print out your slides in case the technology fails.

4.      Psychology: to be convincing, you must be convinced – know your key messages and use repetition to help commit them to people’s memories.

5.      Practice: a strong start and finish is essential. Read notes out loud, film yourself and ensure you can stick to time.

6.      Performance: make eye contact with your audience whenever possible to gain trust and credibility, and stay cool if something goes wrong.

MIH has years of experience in helping to expand people’s confidence and capabilities when presenting. We tailor every training programme to suit the individual client, creating a safe and fun environment in which to practise and learn. Whether it’s speaking to groups of colleagues, pitching to the board or taking on an ambassadorial role, the ability to present a strong and coherent case will be an invaluable tool in your arsenal.

To find out more or to get in touch, you can contact us via our Contact Us page here.