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Notes from Neen: Do you ever get nervous when you speak?

By April 15, 2024No Comments

Do you ever get nervous before you present? Hate public speaking? Dread that upcoming board presentation? Sweaty palms. Dry mouth. Shaky hands. Forgetting your next point. Voice shaking.

Feel and sound familiar?

While I don’t believe in the crazy concept that people fear public speaking more than death, all of those things are very real and very scary for many — you aren’t alone, in fact, many of my clients share these same fears.

Me? Speaking is my favorite thing to do.

The stage is my happy place. Something magical happens when I slip on my microphone headset (I call her Minnie — like Minnie Mouse) and stand in service to a room of people. It doesn’t matter if it’s a board table of the top 10 executives, or a ballroom with the top 100 sales performers, or 1,000 people for the all-hands annual kickoff — I love it!

Ever since I was a little girl, I’d read aloud in Sunday School and choreographed spontaneous plays and dances for me and the other kids in our neighborhood to perform for our parents.

When I began working, I’d volunteer for the presentation, teach the program, or to lead the project. I realized early in my career that if you could master presenting, you could get promoted. Speaking up and speaking out could highlight projects, passions, and people as a powerful tool.

Focus and Frameworks

Teaching how to present more powerfully and confidently to get the attention for your business and your ideas is one of the cornerstones of the work I do — it doesn’t matter if I’m working with leaders 1:1 or on team skill building.

When I work with leaders they most often want to know how to get attention for their offerings and from their clients. But when looking for that answer, they often focus on sharing metrics, rather than sharing meaning. After all, your big shiny metrics that mean so much to you are sure to impress others, right?

Nope. In reality, it’s more important to structure our information through the lens of what’s most meaningful for our clients (and audience). How you interpret those metrics through their lens is what’s going to get you the attention and buy-in you’re looking for.

So, before every presentation, large or small, my philosophy is to always ask the question, “How can I best serve this audience?” By focusing the conversation on serving the audience, you can provide them with practical strategies they can apply immediately.

Creating powerful presentations will not only help your clients understand your offering but support your business and idea as well. As a luxury leader you set the standard, so communicating your strategy to your team also instills confidence in them and builds internal advocates. It’s vital to build a presentation structure to not only inform, but keep focus and build advocates too.

Don’t think of it as a presentation, think of it as a conversation

Being a powerful presenter is a skill we can all get better at (even if you hate speaking in public).

As leaders we set the standard. As luxury leaders we must exceed expectations.

One of the best areas of professional development for every leader is your ability to communicate powerfully. In fact, in our Luxury Leadership Model: Communicate, Active, and Elevate… everything begins with communication.

Recently, while working with a CEO in the medical field to prepare him for a huge upcoming presentation to the board, his nervousness felt debilitating to him. He got into too much detail, his sentences ran on and on, he knew so much about the business he would go into too much detail and he knew that the board would quickly lose interest in his presentations.

In our 1:1 coaching, we created sound bites for him to sound more assertive and leverage his knowledge, we refined his slide deck to more contextual images, we increased his confidence in asking questions and as a result, he got a huge initiative approved by the board for the strategy for the next 18 months.

He went in planning for a conversation, and came out with a laser-focused strategy and even stronger advocacy from the board. How can I help you strengthen your communication skills as a luxury leader? Let me know!

Like this content? Did you know that provided specific tips for building presentations in my newsletter? Be the first to read Notes from Neen, my bi-weekly newsletter, where I share content like that, as well as practical recommendations and more bonus content! Sign up here.

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