PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

They say first impressions are easy to make and hard to break.

Few things make a stronger first impression, or do so with more people, than your public speaking.

If, on top of that, you speak regularly to the same people (example: monthly report to management), whatever impression you have made becomes the set story on you.

She has a hard time getting to the point no matter how much time you give her.  He’s dynamic, but his presentations lack substance.  She knows her stuff, but doesn’t project confidence in front of groups.

You can complain that you have been unfairly judged and labeled, but it does no good.

You can also set out to modify the behavior that led to your reputation, but the same negative comments just keep working their way back to you through second-hand sources.  It can be quite frustrating.

One solution is to change jobs, get in front of new people, and make a new first impression.  But, that’s a drastic, unnecessary, solution

Instead, in your next few presentations, try doing more than just modifying your behavior.  Consider overcorrecting.

If, for example, you have been labeled as too low-key and unenergetic, make a point of raising your delivery pace, volume and animation to a level that makes you a bit uncomfortable.  As long as you are still in your comfort zone, it’s unlikely you are correcting enough for it to be effective.  Without getting too carried away, you want to shake up the perception people have of you.

Don’t worry; you are not suddenly going to get a new reputation for being overly energetic.  More likely, you will get the modified reputation you were originally trying for.

Think of it this way: If you have a bent, metal rod, how far do you have to bend it in order to make it straight again?  Can you just bend (modify) it back to straight?  No.  You have to “over-bend” it in the opposite direction, beyond straight, so that it will spring back to straight when you let go.  In other words, you have to overcompensate.

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