There are NO natural born pitchmen. There’s a surprising truth about making the pitch that even professionals often miss.
Becoming A Great Business Presenter
Are you working hard to become a great business presenter? Here are three questions for you to consider.
- Do you practice yourself to perfection?
- Are natural looking presenters made, or are they gifted?
- Which do you prefer to listen to and watch? A perfectly polished speaker, or a passionate and authentic speaker?
When we see people speaking before a large audience at a convention, or watch TED Talks or speakers handling questions with confidence, it can look effortless. Like you, I have been searching for the special qualities that make great business presenters excel at making the pitch.
Do they have a gift that most of us will never know, or is there something more to it?
I have seen major political candidates up close and personal, and watched prominent chief executives interviewed on national television. I’ve worked with media personalities who experienced anxiety whenever they spoke in public. I prepped the Vancouver Winter Olympic Bid team, and here is what I have observed.
The Truth About Making The Pitch
The surprising truth is, the people we think are the most natural public speakers, often undergo significant coaching. A very few are born with a gift, and the successful ones get training. The overwhelming majority are effective speakers because they got training or were mentored by a top-class presentation coach. Either they made the decision to pursue a presentation education, hired a coach like me, or they have taken every opportunity to stand on their feet and deliver speeches, learning by doing – that’s the hard way.
Here is what I have discovered on becoming a successful public speaker:
Stop Trying So Hard
Be yourself, be relaxed, be a conversational speaker so that you can truly connect with the audience. The audience wants to listen to someone who is relaxed and comfortable as well as interesting. In our regular conversations we have every day, we have no problem being relaxed. Too often when we stand up to give a speech, something changes: our natural way of communicating. We focus on the fear and performance at the expense of the speaking. To be an effective presenter, you must do just the opposite. Focus on the audience and speaking, and let go of the fear of the ‘audience and judgement’.
You do and can carry on a relaxed conversation with one or two people, therefore I believe you can give a great speech. Whether your audience consists of two people or 2,000, and whether you’re talking about your exciting breakthrough or what you did today at work, it’s never about turning into someone you’re not. It’s all about talking directly to people, being your authentic self and making a connection. That’s it!
Anxiety and Perfection
By trying to be perfect, you squash your natural authentic expression, limiting yourself. When you make a mistake, no one cares but you. The most accomplished public speaker does make a mistake or two. Most often, only you know what you were going to say, so remember that the only person who cares and knows about any one mistake is the person doing the speaking. That’s you, so relax and be yourself.
When you make a mistake, the most important thing you can do is keep going. Don’t stop, and unless the mistake was truly major, don’t apologize. Unless your audience is reading along with your speech (most of us do not publish our speech in advance), they won’t know that you left out a word or said the wrong name.
Whether you’re a president or manager or a presentation director and coach like me, you will make mistakes. It’s called being human, and that is what helps us to be great speakers. Our human authenticity enables us to connect with our audience. Audiences don’t want to hear perfection – if they do, they watch actors saying rehearsed lines. They want to hear from someone who is real, just like them.
If making the pitch is crucial to your business, let’s have a conversation. Ask me about my coaching program for business and professional speakers.