One of the skills women tell me they want to refine as they advance at work is their presentation skills. With a higher level audience, the stakes rise and the time shortens to show up confidently, deliver a clear message, and make the asks you need.
As you level up in the organization, greater exposure to new leaders and audiences can bring more doubt, nerves and even imposter feelings, and that’s not surprising.
Studies show that 75% of the population fear public speaking in some form, where it be a slight nervousness at the very thought of public speaking to full-on panic and fear. Research by Catalyst found that 45% of women business leaders say it’s difficult for women to speak up in virtual meetings. Just one difficult presentation can deal a blow to your confidence, so how do you show up, speak up and create the impact you want to make? Over my 15 years of speaking and training experience, I’ve learned there are four Cs for presenting with confidence:
Be clear: What outcome do you want from this meeting? Design your message for this and say it at the beginning. People are horrible guessers, so be clear about what you want and why you’re presenting. Success loves clarity. Be Concise: If you have one hour, no more than 3 topics - max. For every 15 minutes, try to keep it to one topic. Be Client-focused: Instead of obsessing over your nerves, focus instead on how do you want your audience to feel? What’s the “so what” factor for them in your message? Tailor your presentation accordingly. Be Confident: Own your talents and point of view. You are there for a reason. Practice and know your bottom lines. It's okay and normal for you to feel nerves while also delivering with confidence (I do all the time!). The actions of confidence come first, the feelings come second. A bonus tip for confidence A question I received about this recently: “I am good with 3 C's but lack 4th - CONFIDENCE. I over prepare and strive for perfection when it comes to physically presenting. I ask for feedback after most of my formal presentations so I can grow. Any tips for remaining natural and conversational while delivering the 4 C's? Especially in a virtual world.” Answer: While striving for excellence is helpful, perfection is not - and it's impossible to be perfect! Perfection eliminates vulnerability with your audience, which is essential for connection. Instead of focusing on perfection in the presentation, choose to focus on connection instead. Who is your audience? How do you want them to feel? What's important to them? Allow that to show up in your words and actions. 🔥 Remember, choose connection over perfection.
Watch the full video with the tips in action!
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