Fear of public speaking is the most common of all phobias. It’s a form of performance anxiety where a person becomes very concerned they’ll look visibly anxious. Because we are all—at some point—required to speak to more than three people at once, I thought I’d share some of the things that have stuck with me that great presenters do consistently.
- Be Positive. No matter what horrible industry changes are coming up or grave statistics are being shared, great presenters always deliver the news with a positive spin.
- Have an Agenda. They know what they are going to talk about in advance so if they lose their place (as sometimes we humans do) they easily find their way back.
- Blow off Gaffs. Shit happens. Great presenters don’t let themselves get all flustered when something goes wrong. They laugh at themselves when they trip over a cord or make light of the projector that just blew out a bulb to which they have no replacement. No sweat. They improvise and move the presentation forward.
- Stay on Topic. Now here’s one that can be a little bit tricky. Great presenters want their audience to stay engaged and they’ll throw out a topical question here and there to make sure everyone’s on the same page and that’s ok. But taking an audience members question mid-presentation can ruin their creditability and here’s how. The audience member usually has a very specific question to ask and is rushing through it because they are probably a little bit nervous about speaking publicly so they leave out important context. Without proper context, a presenter may inadvertently provide an incorrect answer and lose the attention of the rest of the audience. A great presenter will defer all questions to the end and for those that require more context, take them offline.
- Follow-up. People don’t carry encyclopedias in their head. Sometimes, a valid question requires some thinking. Great presenters will tell the audience member just that, and then, they actually follow-up.
- Request Feedback. Great presenters welcome feedback. As a matter of fact, they highly value constructive feedback. If they were great, tell them what about their presentation had you engaged. If you felt the presentation was a waste of your time, tell them how the information they presented differed from what you were sold.
Sylvia M. Gutiérrez is author of Mortgage Matters: Demystifying the Loan Approval Maze. RealWorks Press: 2015. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and independent booksellers everywhere. Distributed by Ingram.
Licensed and registered mortgage loan officer with NMLS id: 372427
Diversity & Inclusion Co-chair, NAMB – Association of Mortgage Professionals
Government Affairs Chair, South Florida Mortgage Bankers Association
Associate Member, National Association of Real Estate Editors