By Liz Folger, Work-at-Home Mom Expert
You answer the phone and the friend on the other end basically says...."Want some free advertising to say 25 - 50 people?" "Free?", you say. Sounds good, but then this person, who all of a sudden may be your worst enemy, says, "Yeah, we need someone to give a speech at our club meeting. You have such a unique home business that we'd love you to share how and why you started it and how it's helping our local community."
Bad thoughts flash through your mind. Your hands get cold and clammy, you start to stammer and say..."Uh.....when...when...is this talk...uh...um...scheduled." This friend (with friends like this, who needs enemies) on the other line gives you the time and date and says, "GREAT, I'll schedule you in."
Oh dear, it's your worst nightmare -- public speaking. The thought of it makes you want to, how do I say this, puke! Public speaking can strike fear in even the most confident person. But don't let this be a reason for NOT undertaking such a project.
Below are 5 ways to make your next presentation fun and successful.
Don't hide behind the podium, read your speech and then sit down. Boring!!!! Get up and move around. Wear a funny hat, throw things around, make some noise. Get these people's attention. And get it quickly. It's a fact that you have 90 seconds to convince the audience that you're worth listening to or not.
Facts and figures are nice, but they aren't something that should rule your presentation. I start, end and sprinkle throughout my talks -- stories. People can always relate to a good story.
Take the Bible for example. I use this book because it's a best seller. People usually have one or more copies of the Bible in their homes at any given time. Find one of those copies and you'll see LOTS of stories sprinkled with guidelines.
You might say, "But I don't know any stories." Oh please, how long have you been living? It doesn't have to be a life changing story, just one people can relate to. If you are looking for a life changing story, look to the "Chicken Soup For the Soul" books -- lots of great stories there!
LOOK IN THEIR EYES
I have a problem with this one, but have been getting better. When you talk, look into your audience's eyes. Hold that contact until you get some sort of response like a nod, a smile or something.
Don't ramble on. You know the saying, "Keep it short, stupid!" Well, that might not be exactly the way that goes, but you get the point here. When you see people start to walk out, look at their watches, drift off to dreamland...your talk has either been a bore from the start or has gone on way too long. You want to end so that people are still interested in what you have to say and wouldn't mind if you kept talking a bit longer.
HAVE A Q&A TIME
After you end -- a little early, ask if anyone has any questions. Because no matter how prepared you are or how smart you are, you still didn't answer all their questions. This is also a great way to shorten your talk a little. Say you are slated for a 30-minute talk. You can present for 15 minutes and have 15 minutes of discussions. People are going to ask questions you never thought about adding to your speech. This will make your talk very well rounded.
When using the above 5 ideas, make sure your speech is fun -- fun for you to give and fun to listen to. People will remember your talk (and your business) much better if it was a never-to-forget presentation!
* BONUS TIP *
I know I said I'd only give you 5 tips, but I'm in a great mood and thought I'd share one more way to make your presentation even more fun for you. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!! Find a family member who will listen to you and can give you some much needed feedback. The more comfortable you are with your presentation, the less fear you'll have. Promise!
Liz Folger is Work-at-Home Mom Expert and author of, "The Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide To making Money". Her book is available at your favorite bookstore or by calling, 800-632-8676. Liz has also created a resource site for work-at-home moms at: http://www.bizymoms.com. When you visit don't forget to sign-up for the free e-newsletter just for moms who work from home. If you have a question that you'd like covered in a column, e-mail her at: [email protected].
Copyright 1999 Liz Folger