Did you know that last year a survey revealed that one of the greatest fears in the workplace was writing and giving presentations, this came out top over death. Yes, death.
So what is it about giving a business presentation that people fear more than death itself? Well, from my experience it’s a few things:
- You don’t feel entirely prepared
Let’s be honest, we’ve all done it. The business presentation that you’ve been putting off starting for three weeks has come around quicker than you thought and you’ve had to beg Tim from accounts to send over the one that he delivered last year. You tweak it to suit your purpose and commit to winging it on the day in the hope that nobody will notice.
It’s only when you’re walking into the room clutching your USB stick that you finally think it might have been worth spending less time down the King’s Arms and more time preparing, rugby or no rugby.
- The fear of public speaking
As a graduate going into my first role, I had a dream that I was about delivering my first ever business presentation (I was a recruitment consultant) and my- then very terrifying- manager stopped me angrily mid-sentence to tell me that my results for the month were abysmal. He said that I was lying about my results in my presentation and that I was fired (Stephen Fry then walked in, but I put that down to watching QI before bed).
It’s safe to say that I was petrified walking into work the next morning.
Okay, so it may have only been a dream, but it’s no lie that a fear of public speaking is common. According to the Washington Post 25.3% of Americans fear public speaking- so next time you’re stood quivering in your boots in front of 50 people, trying to in some way present a spending report with enthusiasm, remember that a quarter of the room is probably going to be just as nervous at their next month’s sales meeting.
- You’ve used up all of your stock images
In the past, I’d always hoped that my audience would have seen the ironic humour in an image of 5 business people cheering behind someone at a computer (perhaps that’s just my sense of humour), but alas, blank faces glared at me as I talked through the numbers with an expectant smile. Not a crowd pleaser.
The way that your business presentation looks and captures the interest of your audience is absolutely key, and stock images don’t just don’t cut it. The same principle applies to the displaying complex information- adding animation can bring a revenue graph to life and capture the audience’s attention. (see our guide to animation here) I’ve begun to associate (boring) bar charts with sandwiches as I’ve stared at so many whilst wondering what to eat for lunch.
- You’re scared that you’ll forget the information
This ties in with our fear of public speaking, but with a direct consequence. When we’re creating our presentations in PowerPoint it’s common to cover the slide in text for the audience to read- an error that can be easily avoided with the use of hand-outs or strategically written notes. In reality, with presentation slides such as these, the presenter will naturally begin to read from the slide, taking their eye-line from the audience. At this point, Sally from marketing’s begun to nod off and the new intern is checking the likes on his new Instagram post.
Forgetting information needn’t be a worry for your business presentation- there’s a lot to be said for preparation. Have your notes ready, but more importantly, practice, practice, practice.
We’re on a mission to take the fear out of presenting for you and your team. Get in touch to hear more about our CONFIDENCE service, our first-class presenter training to help take the fear out of the next presentation and nail it instead. It’s our speciality to not only redesign your business presentation to make it the most effective at the point of delivery but to make your company’s messages, your messages and most importantly you the most effective at the point of delivery.
Call us now for more information: +44 (0) 203 291 3897