I love this story and I remember it like it was yesterday. Lots of people struggle presenting or public speaking because of a fear of getting it wrong, forgetting what we want to say or looking like a fool. As human’s we are natural story tellers and we do it all the time with confidence; in the pub with friends or in the lift at work. Yet, when it comes to standing up and presenting we clam up and panic. I’ve been attending lots of Networking events recently and I see so often, people who struggle to stand up and say a little bit about themselves and/or their businesses. However, with some impactful coaching anyone can be a great presenter!!
“Me and my colleague, Simon, met Jill through work. Whilst she worked in a totally different part of the business, someone suggested we contact her to coach us for a very important presentation we needed to make in 2 days time!!!
We’d made it to the final stages of a highly acclaimed industry award; the final step was a presentation to a Judges Panel. We had submitted an entry detailing an amazing project initiated and delivered, by us, the previous year. The project involved transforming, a once troubled, part of a big city into a popular and safe place to hang out by collaborating with local law enforcement and the public. Over the course of a year, and with serious dedication and bravery we successfully managed to drive out some of the gangs that were making this picturesque part of town more like a mob hangout or crime centre. Despite being immensely proud, excited and passionate about our project our presentation confidence was low.
After doing a full run through of our presentation Jill appeared confused. She asked us lots of questions about ‘who wrote the slides/content’, ‘what role did they play in the project’, ‘what do you guys think of the presentation content’ – we admitted that we thought the slide were complicated and it was difficult making them flow etc… She then just asked us questions about the project- ‘How did it all start? Who’s idea was it? How did that make you feel? And then what happened?’.
There was a period of silence, at which point we ask her ‘What do you think about our presentation, can you help us feel more confident and deliver it better’. Confidently she said ‘yes, sure! The presentation was in 2 days and Jill had 2 hours left with us before catching her train back home. At this point she suggested we bin the existing presentation and start again!!! We thought she can’t be serious, she’s joking, but she wasn’t. She went on to support wholeheartedly our view on the slides that had been written for us. They didn’t reflect the amazing work we’d done. They didn’t tell our story in all its colour and glory, in our words, with our feeling and real life experiences. When we answer her questions about the project, we came to life therefore engaging our audience and allowing our passion and pride to come through. Which of course, met our confidence levels went through the roof because no one knew this story better than us.
Two days later armed with only a couple of slides on PowerPoint to mark the key milestones (How did it start, who was involved, what happened next…etc) and complimented with a small sprinkle of statistics to back it up (not 10 slides worth!) we went to London and told our story with ease, passion and confidence. Two month later we picked up an award”