Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tell It Like It Is

Yesterday was the last class of a program I presented for Leadership Johnston, a series of presentations for potential leaders in Johnston County.

I've done this for about five years and the last program in the series is always the one about making presentations. During the program I present basic instructions about public speaking and then offer suggestions to make the experience easier and less stressful.

Most studies show that 68-72% of Americans are more afraid of speaking before a group of strangers than they are of dying. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said that those statistics mean that if you are at a funeral where a eulogy is being given 68-72% of the people in the audience had rather be the person in the casket than the one giving the eulogy. In past years in the Johnston program I've had people who were so nervous they threw up, almost fainted, begged to not have to speak...you name it.

However, a recent study including CEOs and other leaders asked, "What skill, in addition to function skills, is most important for a leader?" The overwhelming winner was....public speaking.

Being able to present effectively is an outstanding addition to your workplace skills. You stand out from all the others who fear public speaking and, honestly, make yourself more marketable in the workplace.

There are three simple words to remember if you are asked to make a presentation: Tell'em, Tell'em, Tell'em.

First, Tell'em What You'll Tell'em. Give people a preview of your presentation.
Next, Tell'em. Present the body of your information.
Finally, Tell'em What You Told'em. Summarize your remarks and put a finishing touch on the presentation.

Few people in your audience will listen to every single word you say. But, they will catch most of the preview, body, or summary of your program.

Keep Tell'em, Tell'em, Tell'em in mind and you'll do a great job most of the time.

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