Remember when you were a child? Fearless, confident, happy to say anything to anyone? Lots of us were like that, but at some stage along the way social conditioning creeps in and we began to conform.
Of course, conformity is important, but it can also hamper our natural confidence, and when we lose confidence we perform less well in public.
Put simply, to succeed in public speaking and presentations – whether that’s to a room full of delegates or trainees, in a meeting, or simply getting your point across during a chat at the water cooler – it pays to rediscover your inner child.
So just when do we lose our natural confidence? Probably earlier than we think. Take daughter of Open Dawes Training’s Managing Director Chris Dawes. She is a confident, chatty, happy nine-year-old. But Chris was very surprised at what happened when she was given the task of presenting to her classmates. She became nervous – and Chris knows exactly how that feels.
“She had to research Viking Gods, then stand up in front of the class with her PowerPoint presentation. We helped her get the presentation together, and then it came to the point where she wanted to practice,” said Chris. “She absolutely froze and broke down in tears first time and didn’t want to do it. It is quite staggering how early in life those nerves start to affect us, and a lot of that is down to the need to conform in school and society, and actual or fear of mockery by our friends or peers. Our natural abilities and confidence are, to a certain extent, hammered out of us, which is a huge shame.”
Chris swapped his ‘Dad’ hat for ‘trainer’ and swung into action. Just as he does with all Open Dawes Training clients, Chris videoed her first practice session.
Then, through training, he helped her overcome her nerves and improve her performance. Then she practised again and Chris took a second video. The difference was remarkable, and you can see the before and after videos on the Open Dawes Training website here:
“I talked to her about the fact that giving a presentation is just like having a conversation, and also reminded her of how much she had enjoyed researching Viking Gods, and how to get this enthusiasm across. We discussed how the feelings are adrenaline, which we get whether we are excited or nervous, so we need to change whether we see them as a positive or negative, and to take a deep breath, smile, and make eye contact at the start to USE the adrenaline rather than let them CONTROL you.
We talked about how to slow her pace and to talk with the audience and not read from the slides as a script, but use them as notes to remind her what she was going to animatedly describe next.”
She made her own notes including: be confident, pause, smile, make eye contact. The training paid off, her presentation to the school, according to her teachers, was excellent and her classmates thoroughly enjoyed it.
Open Dawes Training runs CPD accredited public speaking and presentation training in groups and for individuals. These are delivered online but can also be delivered selectively, inhouse or at the company’s head office training centre in Swindon.
If you’re ready to rediscover your inner child and learn how to deliver great presentations, then contact Chris and the team. Call 01793 238259 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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