giving a gun presentation

If you want to become your industry’s voice, it is critical that you are a good presenter.

I used to go into presentations when I was younger and more insecure and only think about my own ego and my own performance. How am I going to come across today? Are people going like me?

Instead, the most important thing is what is the audience here today going to gain from this session?

Self-consciousness is the killer. The key is that it isn’t about you but instead how you can help your audience. You aren’t up there for yourself, you’re there for the audience.

One of the biggest myths around presentations is that people often produce beautiful slide decks or beautiful speaking notes and they think that’s all they need to do. But that’s almost guaranteeing you’re not going to get the engagement you want.

Don’t let your presentation turn into death by Powerpoint. I remember showing up to university for a presentation night. About an hour in, I turned around and half the audience was gone. Why? Because it is agonising listening to a poor presenter. If all of your prep is on the slide deck and not in your head and heart, you’re in trouble.

So let’s break it down. If we’re making it all about the audience, how do we pull that apart?

One really good thing to do is check who your audience is and make sure you’re hitting your notes at the right level. All that matters is that you help one person in that room.

Why are you there? How can you help them? Someone like me would even say, “Hey, if you’re in the wrong room, here’s your two minutes to pick up your gear and leave because this plane’s about to take off to London. We want to make sure you’re on the right flight.”

Now you’re controlling the room and this is your opportunity to shine. The best speakers don’t tolerate people who aren’t present with them in the room.

I find it helps me to visualise myself on the stage and imagine the questions I’m being asked. I build two bullet point answers in my head so there is no way I can be derailed or have that anxious feeling prior.

The other key point is you need to get rid of your script. Gone are the days of standing up there shaking and holding a script. You should be up there with a point to make then have a heartfelt example to follow. It’s a simple but effective method.

Presenting is exhausting both mentally and physically so another key thing is looking after yourself before a presentation. Get some good rest in, eat a nutritious meal and get some fresh air – it makes you feel good and that shows on the stage.

The last and arguably most crucial point is to tell stories. I’ll give you a brief one. I started this business nine years ago and when I first left the newsroom, I didn’t really know what I was doing but I knew I wanted to help people.

By sharing a piece of yourself with the audience, they are compelled to give that back and it brings another level of respect. It’s how you connect and really achieve something unforgettable.

You could tell stories that people go on to tell others. That is actually entirely possible, and that’s what Good Talent does

It’s a vulnerability, it’s storytelling, it’s emotional and you’ve got all hundred people in that room captivated. The opposite is standing up there terrified, shaking with a white paper in front of a PowerPoint.

Be vulnerable, tell stories and make it all about your audience. That’s the golden thing.

Tony Nicholls

Tony Nicholls

Founder and Director of Good Talent Media

Tony Nicholls is an accomplished journalist who has held roles for more than ten years with the ABC, SBS and Network Ten, covering thousands of news stories across Victoria, Australia and in the international media.


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