Q: Noah, I'm only 26 and just earned the title of associate fashion editor at my company. I'm super psyched for this job. My catch issue: They want me to address the entire editorial staff with a three- to five-minute, "Hello, here's my vision" speech. The position also demands monthly reports in front of the staff. I don't really like public speaking, and am petrified of being judged. I know my field inside-out, yet when I go to speak, my brain freezes and I feel myself shutting down. I'm so scared my bosses will eventually regret their decision to promote me. Tips, please!
A: Start from a perspective of strength. You know you are good at what you do, because clearly you are now getting paid more to explain to others what you are doing!
Remember, we have limited control over how others perceive us. So, of course, we are bound to fear what we cannot control. Throughout your career, colleagues, bosses, potential clients and everyone else will form opinions of you. These are often referred to as judgments... and yes, you make them of others, as well.
More often than not, this will have nothing to do with the quality of your performance. It has more to do with their mood that day or whatever else is going on in their personal life.
Here are the tips for your presentation:
1. Do not judge every presentation as a career-defining moment. It isn't. It only feels like that at that particular time.
2. Focus on stating your ideas, not selling them. You don't need to put on a show. Let content steer the wheel for a while!
3. Take a deep, full breath, and pause for a moment between making your points. Speak slowly and clearly while you deliver each remark. You create the pace and tone; own that pace.
4. Sometimes when we know what we have to say is valuable, we get so excited to present it. That's when we mumble or stumble over our words, or state our opinion in incomplete sentences. The simpler you present the material, the better.
5. Don't define yourself by your past presentations. That was then, this is now. Quit the negative self-talk and see each opportunity to speak your mind as a singular opportunity.
6. Practice with a friend. Make sure it is someone you trust, who isn't afraid to give you his or her honest opinion on your presentation. Ask them for specifics on clarity and content.
7. Prepare a brief outline using a few key words. Having the outline near you (even if it is not used) may decrease your anxiety.
8. Remember to look your personal best. This will make you feel more confident in front of your audience. They will take notice when you step into the room.
9. Get some rest the night before. People who fear public speaking tend to stay up all night worrying about the upcoming morning. The lack of sleep will not assist you in appearing energized or confident.
10. Get some perspective on this matter: Your career has just started. You are going to be a star! Now all you need is experience. There will always be some blunders. That's OK. Good, even. Learn from them and move on.
Congratulations on the promotion. Now get back to work!
Please send all questions and comments to "ASK NOAH" at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a profitable and peaceful week,
This article was originally published on TheStreet.
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