For the women who need us most

For the women who need us most

I’m Werking On My…

I’m Werking On My…

5 tips to becoming a presenting pro
By Lucy Hainsworth
Image: Frankie Kemp, presenting expert

The bane of many people’s life, the art of presenting. Whether it is hosting a conference meeting or a pitch to prospective clients, getting up in front of the limelight is a daunting task.

Standing in front of all those staring eyes with clammy hands clasped together whilst you feel your face begin to flush a tomato red is a feeling everyone knows all too well. You present your speech on auto-pilot and before you know it, it’s over, and you don’t even remember how you began. 

Join Lucy Hainsworth from Werk as she speaks to presentation expert, Frankie Kemp, on how you can embrace your nerves and become a stand-out presenter. 

Frankie Kemp is an award-winning storyteller and actor who blends psychology with business and helps others become “knockout presenters, impactful influencers and standout storytellers”. She knows the feeling of clamming up all too well and is here to help beat down the stereotypes that presenting needs to be the fear of your life.

Here is Frankie’s top tips on slaying your next go on the stage.

Top tip 1: Acknowledging you’re not alone

The first step of overcoming those irrational feelings is to recognise there are millions of people who also feel like they’re whole world is crashing down whilst under the spotlight. 

Frankie speaks about how survey after survey has found that research into what scares people the most, presenting often comes above death and spiders. Yes, seriously. 

She said: “If you are feeling frightened of presenting, feel much better in knowing you’re not the only one that sh*ts themselves. It is normal, and you don’t want to be in that state, but you can embrace and accept it and do something about it.

“It’s important you get on top of it rather than it being on top of you.”

By acknowledging this, you are at the first stage of removing the isolation from the situation and getting empowered by the community of fellow presenting dodgers. 

Now you might be thinking, this is all great, but how do I do that? Well here comes top tip number two.

Top tip 2: Don’t drown yourself in information 

We’ve all been there, gripping onto your fact sheets like they are your crutch and glueing your eyes to the hundreds of words you’ve prepared scrambling for the right sentence. ‘I think this is where I was. Wait no, f*ck I’m on the wrong page. It must be here somewhere.’

By bombarding yourself with information, you are also bombarding your audience with information and suddenly become the dullest presenter in the room and everyone’s checked out before you can even say ‘welcome’. 

Frankie said: “One of the things that 99% of speakers do not do which makes things so hard for them is they don’t ask themselves: what is the reason I need to be speaking to this audience? What is in it for them? Because they don’t ask themselves that they throw information at their audience, most of which isn’t pertinent and because they’re doing that they’re actually drowning everyone.

“Then you’re shaking because your adrenaline is set on urgent and it all goes to pot and then you walk away and feel like you’ve survived some terrible, traumatic incident, like walking out of a plane crash.” 

So next time you go to present, ask yourself these questions and narrow down your expertise to what you need to say. It’s all about quality, not quantity. 

Top tip 3: don’t rely on telepathy 

The first step to narrowing down your content is to ask your audience. No, not after the event when you nervously ask if anyone has any questions about your whirlwind of information, but before the event.

Frankie recommends asking your audience: “I’ve got X amount of time to speak to you today, what is the one thing you need to know from me that will make it worthwhile?”

If this is your colleagues, it can just be a simple conversation in the office, and won’t take much time at all. If it is at a larger event where you might not have access to the audience, you can always ask the organiser, as they will know their audience or, put a survey out online to get some information on the topic. 

This way you are refining the information you need to remember and can focus on engaging with your audience, rather than getting buried in paperwork on the main stage.

Top tip 4: Use psychological techniques to perfect your mindset 

Whilst your preparation and awareness of your expertise will be the main way to reduce your nerves and focus, there are other psychological techniques you can use to take your confidence that extra step.

‘Power posing’: the guide on becoming the most powerful woman in the room. Frankie believes power posing, studied by MIT and Harvard, is helpful getting that extra boost before your presentation that could make or break your experience.

‘Power posing’ is used to boost your testosterone levels and push down your stress hormones, leading to a relaxed state of mind and getting rid of all that fear. So, stand up, get those shoulders back, and strike a power pose before you go. 

But don’t do it too much if you don’t want to become the cocky tw*t of the office…

Top tip 5: Remember why you are there

Presenting is an important part of working life, and is something unfortunately that just has to be done. But, it’s not only a necessity, it should be positive. Frankie believes that being able to present well is important in proving your knowledge, your credibility and your visibility. 

It can often feel like presenting confidently and calmly takes a lot of balls, and is only for the cocky workers who love the sound of their own voice, but this is far from the truth.

Frankie said: “People often think: ‘I don’t want to look like a tw*t who’s blowing their own trumpet because I hate those people’. But, it is helpful to think about it in the way that you are doing people a favour by showing how you can help them with your expertise.

“It is not brown-nosing, it is not showing off, it is sharing.”

By sharing your expertise, you can get a new-found sense of confidence and you may even be putting yourself out there for more promotions and job opportunities. Don’t let yourself get in the way of your career ambitions, and go pitch yourself to the world.

Presenting can become your new tool to help you stand out from the crowd and make those lasting impressions. By embracing these top 5 tips from expert Frankie Kemp, you could be turning a new leaf to your presenting career.

It’s your time to shine, and remember to breathe. 

Read more on being a confident woman in the workplace here.