Master the art of public speaking with a mind- and content-based approach to success
How to Present to Absolutely Anyone is the ultimate guide to successful public speaking, Presentations, talks, and speeches are unavoidable in school, work, and even social occasions (have you ever had to deliver a wedding toast?)-but fear of public speaking is statistically more common than fear of death, Author Mark Rhodes once pretended he had crashed his car to avoid doing a presentation! Permanent avoidance will eventually hold you back, but mastering the art of the successful presentation can take you to new heights! This book shows you how Mark eventually learned to love public speaking: by setting himself up for a self-sustaining cycle of presentation success,
It takes more than stage presence to make a great presentation-you need great content, Without it, you won't get the result you're after, and you will dread the next talk, But if your presentation stands on its own two feet and you manage to banish the stage fright, you get a taste of success that ignites your passion and gets you excited to present every time! Packed with practical advice for both mental anguish and content creation, this book approaches public speaking holistically to arm you with real skills for success:
- Build confidence, reduce fear, and develop the right mindset for public speaking
- Engage your audience from the start, and reduce first-minute jitters
- Develop great content that you look forward to presenting each time
- Go beyond simple body language to reach your audience in a more authentic, organic way
Don't mumble your way through a PowerPoint or try to put flash over substance, Craft an engaging, informative presentation that people want to see and that you want to present! This book covers performance anxiety, speaking skills, ideas/content, practice, preparation, and audience interaction, How to Present to Absolutely Anyone guides you from fear, to excitement, to success!Mark Rhodes
is an Entrepreneur, Business Mentor, Published Author, International Speaker and Trainer in Success and shows both individuals and businesses around the world how to massively improve their results with little or no extra effort! He helps people, whether in business or not, to be the best that they can be, He does this by helping people have more confidence and direction and by helping businesses Win More Sales, Get More Clients and Customers and Achieve their Business Goals, This is done using the very same approaches, ideas and techniques that Mark has used for his own Success, It's not about 'in your face' selling either, far from it, in fact Mark's work also includes working with professional firms such as Banks, Accountants, Solicitors and Legal firms, for whom Mark's approach is an ideal fit, in addition to more traditional businesses that he also helps covering most industries and sectors you could name,
Mark Rhodes is an Entrepreneur, Business Mentor, Published Author, International Speaker and Trainer in Success and shows both individuals and businesses around the world how to massively improve their results with little or no extra effort! He helps people, whether in business or not, to be the best that they can be. He does this by helping people have more confidence and direction and by helping businesses Win More Sales, Get More Clients and Customers and Achieve their Business Goals. This is done using the very same approaches, ideas and techniques that Mark has used for his own Success. It's not about "in your face" selling either, far from it, in fact Mark's work also includes working with professional firms such as Banks, Accountants, Solicitors and Legal firms, for whom Mark's approach is an ideal fit, in addition to more traditional businesses that he also helps covering most industries and sectors you could name.
My Change: From Extreme Public Speaking Fear to Total Confidence
After I achieved my success in business, I was completely astounded that I'd managed it; building a company and eventually selling it to a large Silicon Valley organisation in the USA.
I then got curious about success and how I'd become successful.
I read a number of books, I went on some courses. And I realised most of the things I was reading or hearing I had already been doing naturally, but in my own way, which had also led to my success so far.
What I also realised is that there were some things in my life that I was doing really, really well. Like sales; I was always good at selling and winning new business. And yet there were other things in my life I was doing badly, or not at all; like public speaking.
I eventually realised that the difference between these two things, as soft and simple as it might sound, was how I was thinking about them. I was thinking about them very differently.
You see, when I was going to a sales meeting to see a potential client or customer, I'd be thinking about everything going right. My excited and upbeat internal voice and thinking was something along the lines of:
'They are going to love what we do. I can't wait to get there. I can't wait to tell them about our product, about our team. They're going to love us, they're going to want to work with us, they're going to see that we can transform their business and help them go to another level.'
That was my thought process - and thinking like that I felt pretty good when I arrived at those meetings. And I therefore got excellent results most of the time, and my sales conversion or winning rate was very high.
Now, when it came to giving a talk, and somebody said, 'Mark, will you do a talk? Will you do a presentation?' Instead of thinking about everything going right, I'd think about everything going wrong. I'd think:
'Maybe I'll forget my words. Maybe I'll look nervous. Maybe the audience won't like it. Maybe I'll pass out!'
And after I've thought about these fears and talked to myself with my internal voice in a very down and depressed tonality, well, I'm scared - I'm smashing up that car and I'm not going to do a presentation anywhere!
This was the eureka moment for me. When I saw first-hand from my own experiences how the thoughts we have, and how we think about things beforehand, have a major impact on the results we get and how we feel during the process - no matter what we are doing.
I then started to change how I was thinking about giving presentations, and I would think more about things going right than things going wrong, and that's when the fear started to diminish for me. I will explain exactly how I made this change as we go through this book.
The fear diminished to a stage that I managed to put myself on a course . it wasn't a public speaking course, but it was a course where I'd have to stand up and do a short presentation each day about what we had learnt that day.
Because I had started thinking about things going well with these presentations, imagining myself delivering those talks well, it started to reduce the fear to the point that I'd go on the course and take part in it.
Then the ongoing practice beyond that is what helped me go much further.
In addition to reducing my fears, I also had to come up with ways to develop content and methods of delivery as well as everything else that I'm going to take you through in what I call my 'Zero to Hero in Public Speaking Process'.
Discovering Another Way by Accident
I found out something very interesting some years later when I started helping clients with public speaking and overcoming their own fears, something that made me totally change my original approach.
What I used to do was start by sorting out their mindset and helping them to reduce the fears that were holding them back.
I would say to them at the start of our first coaching session:
'How scared are you on a 0 to 10 scale? Where 0 is I could do a talk right now to a 1000 people. It would be a walk in the park and I'd love every single minute of it. And 10 would be, if I stand up to do a talk, I know I'm going to die!'
Now, because 10 is 'I know I'm going to die', and they know they won't actually die, the most they can choose is 9; although some jokingly still say 10 - but hey, if they are joking now they are not taking it so seriously is often my response, and I tell them they have already made progress! If they had been thinking that they were at a fear level of 10 before our conversation, then I've got an improvement for them already!
Do remember though, when thinking about this fear level for yourself, this scale and judgement of fear level from 0 to 10 is your own personal measurement and only yours. You can't compare it to anyone else - your 7 may be their 9. It is your personal relative scale, so when you check again on another day you will know you have improved if your number has reduced when you think about speaking in public.
But whatever their number was - 7, 8, 9 or whatever on the scale - I would then start to use different techniques to reduce that fear level. Once we got had got their fear level down by various methods to a lower and more manageable number, maybe a 4 or 5, we would then start looking at other areas such as content, delivery style, engaging the audience etc.
Incidentally, this technique of taking our own personal measurement of the level of fear we feel in a given situation is based on the SUD scale concept. SUD stands for Subjective Unit of Distress. The 'D' is also sometimes taken to mean 'Disturbance' or 'Discomfort'. The SUD method was developed by Joseph Wolpe back in 1969.
The great discovery
What I found a couple of years ago, was that I could also do this the other way around! Instead of dealing with their fears first, I could start by looking at their topics and content first.
I realised that a lot of the fears and concerns someone had would massively reduce or go away totally if they knew that they had a really exciting and interesting presentation to deliver, that the audience were going to love it and that they weren't going to make any big mistakes. It would also be even better if they had safety nets in place to make sure that there wouldn't be any major mistakes, or - in the very unlikely situation of something going wrong - that they had a simple strategy or way of dealing with it.
So, as an example, here is something that happened with one of my clients that led me to this realisation: that starting with content and delivery style, as opposed to the fears, also worked brilliantly.
I was asked to go and do some one-to-one coaching to help a young lady who wanted to get better at public speaking. When she first contacted me, her whole focus was about reducing the fear she had. She said to me, 'Mark, I just lack confidence. I've got no confidence to speak in public, and yet I've got to do this big presentation that's coming up'.
She explained that she was going to be doing her presentation to about 60-80 architects, who she said were on average in their 50s with many years of experience, whereas she was a young woman of about 30. I wasn't sure at this stage what the issue was, but it sounded like this in itself was a problem for her.
When we met, I said my usual, 'So tell me on a scale of 0 to 10 how scared you are of doing this presentation, where 0 is it's a walk in the park, I could do it in my sleep and 10 is, I know I'm going to die?'
She replied, 'On a scale of 0 to 10 I'm definitely an 8. I'm definitely an 8'. I said, 'Okay, well we'll come back to that in a little while'.
What I then proceeded to do in that session was not to focus on the fear level straightaway; I would come back and deal with the fears a little later.
Now this wasn't some major moment of inspiration on my part to focus on content first, it was forced on me due to the environment we were in. You see, some of the methods of reducing fear involve some exercises being done out loud, and as we were working in an office environment - although in a private room - there were four glass walls and it just didn't feel like an ideal environment for some of the 'dealing with fear' exercises.
Therefore, I just spent an hour or so with her, getting the content of her presentation right. Looking at what she was thinking of saying and doing and amending and adjusting it . what those content changes actually were I will explain later in the book.
After a couple of hours, we got her content right. We got it structured. It was now going to be very easy for her to deliver the content, because of the changes we had made.
We also made it a lot more interesting. Again, I will cover how to make your presentations more interesting a little later.
She then said, 'Wow, that's going to be so exciting to deliver. I'm looking forward to delivering it already, although I'm not sure this particular audience will take me seriously'.
You see, now she knew that audiences in general...