Every new year, many of us will make resolutions.
To do things better than last year.
But the reason most fail is simple.
We’re looking to change things for a while.
Until we get bored.
Resolutions to stop snacking.
To go to the gym.
Or to nail that big promotion presentation.
What we need to develop is good habits.
The reason many people present poorly is bad habits.
Things like using the deck of slides they’ve come to rely on.
Or throwing the presentation together at the last moment.
Or going into the presentation without adequate rehearsal.
Leading to a poor presentation.
We’re told this by clients who visit our Glasgow studios.
Or who attend the courses we’ve run in 25 countries across the world.
Many come to change the communication habits of a lifetime.
Some want to boost their own confidence levels.
Others are absolutely determined to land that promotion presentation.
It only takes a month to make a new habit.
Or break an old one.
That’s according to Dr Steven Covey.
He’s the author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
So here are three good habits to develop during the first month of 2020.
To do that, you have to work out the audience.
Decide what your key messages are.
And lead with what’s in it for them.
Finish the presentation with a strong call to action.
Telling the audience exactly what you want them to do next.
And all of that is done in preparation.
Deciding what you’ll say.
And then what pictures may be needed to illustrate the speech.
Now you’ve written your speech, put it into a format that works for you.
You may need to read it word for word.
Or you may find bullet points are the answer.
But set it out the way that best works for you.
Then practise, practise, practise.
How often should you practise?
Until you’re fully conversant with the material.
That’s different from word-perfect.
But being conversant gives you confidence in what you’re saying.
You’ve written material specifically with the outcome in mind.
You’re fully conversant with the speech through thorough rehearsal.
Now you’re free to concentrate on the delivery.
What an audience wants to see is your passion for the subject.
Because if you want them to believe in what you’re saying:
You need to believe in it first.
So emphasise key points.
Slow down for effect.
Vary the tone of your voice.
And keep your energy high to the last word.
Make these three things your habits early in 2020.
Apply them every time you have to stand up and speak to an audience.
Each time you’re pitching for business.
And when you give that promotion presentation to your boss.
If you make them your habit, you’ll still be presenting well by next Christmas.
Whereas the gym membership may have lapsed.
Bill McFarlan is co-Founder and Executive Chairman at Pink Elephant Communications in Glasgow.
You can read his full profile here.
Some media trainers knock you down…and leave you down. Our media coaches show you how to deal with each knock…and still win through. So you have the presentation skills to perform – with confidence.