Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to Present with Assertiveness

'Ask Rebecca How...' is here to help you solve your professional concerns and offer ideas to help you meet your challenges.

"In smaller 1-1 settings, I talk and present with confidence but really lose my nerve in bigger meetings. How can I assert myself more effectively?" - Joanna

One of the most powerful ways to fast track your career, and be recognised as a leader, is to be able to present your ideas with authority but often, we let ourselves get in the way!

When presenting in front of a larger audience, particular limiting decisions often come into play. Do any of these thoughts run through your head?

a) "What if my opinion is wrong?"
b) "I am not knowledgable enough."
c) "The people in the meeting will judge me."

Largely because of beliefs like these, many people will 'hold back' in bigger meetings, waiting for the ideal time to speak. However, the longer this goes on, the harder it is to interject and offer your view. It's time to make some changes and here are some tips to help you:

1. Prepare for your meetings. Write your ideas and opinions down and rehearse them out loud until you sound convincing!

2. How about this: how can you ever be 'wrong' when 'truth' does not exist? To 'be wrong' implies there can only be one possible answer... which is, when you think about it, ludicrous. All anyone has is their opinion based on their own experiences and view of the world. Give yourself permission to offer your opinion; the worst that will happen is that someone else will have a different opinion to you... and that is all!

3. Focus your attention on the knowledge you do have, rather than worrying about what you don't know (yet)! If you need to do some extra research, do it today.

4. Your audience will naturally make a subconscious judgment about you, based first on your tone of voice and body language... possibly before you have even uttered a word. Practice speaking with an appropriate level of authority and rehearse a few subtle gestures that will support the points you wish to make.

Happy presenting! - RW

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