As a leader, how effective are you when speaking in public?
All leaders need to speak to groups small and large. Good preparation reduces performance anxiety. Next time you need to present to an audience, follow these four steps:
- Be confident in your topic. Your audience already believes that you're the expert, so don't try to bluff. If the people you're presenting to feel you're unsure of your material, they'll lose trust in you.
- Imagine questions people might ask. Construct answers before you give your presentation. Either incorporate the answers into your presentation or be ready to provide them during Q&A.
- Memorize the first minute of your presentation. You experience your greatest anxiety at the beginning of a presentation. Knowing the opening of your presentation will give you a good start.
- Once done, look back. Once you're done, reflect on what you accomplished. What went really well that you can do again another time? What might you change next time you need to speak?
Adapted from Guide to Persuasive Presentations (HBR OnPoint Collection).