Chapter 10
No more dull
speaking in
public with
‘The brain is a wonderful organ, it
starts working the moment you are
born and does not stop working until
you stand up to speak.
lying, spiders, heights people have all sorts of phobias. But
the biggest of all, affecting as many as 75 per cent of adults,
is glossophobia the fear of public speaking. The word
comes from the Greek glosso, meaning tongue and phobos, meaning
fear. It even ranks higher than death.
To quote the comedian Jerry Seinfeld, ‘The average person at a
funeral would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy. Are you
part of that 75 per cent who get butterflies in your stomach, jelly
knees and a dry mouth? It’s certainly not a good feeling. Is it possible
to go from enduring a presentation to enjoying it? Absolutely. When
you do, it will give you confidence in every area of your life.
Or maybe you are part of the 25 per cent who rub your hands with
glee when asked to present. Confidence is an important part of
presenting with impact. Even so, there are a lot of other things you can
do to improve the results you get, no matter how experienced you are.
Public speaking provides you with bags of opportunity to make a big
impact on a lot of people. In a work context you are often judged by
your ability to present effectively especially when you are at senior
level and success will greatly enhance your career prospects.
One word of warning: the better you get at public speaking, the more
you will end up doing it. Friends will ask you to be best man, or
woman. Your boss will delegate more presentations to you because
you will be trusted to deliver.You will even find yourself volunteering
162 Impact
your services when in the past you would have said ‘no’.Whether this
means doing more of them or not, presentations are a terrific way to
gain visibility, build your reputation, motivate and influence different
groups, entertain people and create an impact.
Everything is a presentation
Many people think of presentations as formal affairs where you
stand up and speak in front of a crowd. But in business pretty
much every conversation is a presentation. You are presenting
when you speak up at a meeting. You are presenting when you
discuss a problem with a colleague. You are presenting when you
engage a stranger at a networking event.
In fact, you are presenting your ideas pretty much every day, and
the impact you make on each occasion is important. At work there
are numerous opportunities to strut your stuff, such as a confer-
ence, a roadshow, a pitch, a project or team briefing, and a client
conference call.
Outside work, presenting may simply mean putting forward your
plan for a holiday with friends and getting them to buy into your
ideas, a birthday speech, or a committee meeting for your local
club. There are lots of situations where you can make a positive
impression on others.
What does it mean to present with impact? Think about people you haveseen
who present with impact. What did they do and say? How many things did you
come up with?
Now bring to mind presenters who were dreadful.What did theydo that led
you to that conclusion? What didn’t they do?
No more dull presentations speaking in public with impact 163
The kinds of things you came up with probably include:
What creates impact
Makes it relevant to the audience
Powerful voice
Varies their pace
Uses pauses well
Great gestures
Clear structure
Deliveredwith passion
Opens and closes with impact
Uses stories and humour to bring it to life
Uses strong active language
Speaks without notes and uses PowerPoint effectively
What gets in the way
Appears nervous
Waffles and goes off at a tangent
Flat, monotonous voice
Speaks too fastor very slowly
Barely pauses forbreath
Hard to follow
Goes through the motions
Dull opening and close
Sticks purely to the facts
Uses tentative language
Talks to the screen or reads from notes

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