It isn’t uncommon for people to go into panic mode when they learn they have to give a presentation, with public speaking being one of the greatest fears of the human race.
There are plenty of simple tips and tricks that can help the inexperienced speaker make their presentation a success. The most common include pointers on body language, structuring content and how to use visual aids such as PowerPoint.
There are a few tips however, one might not consider as a new presenter but are extremely useful.
Prepare but don’t over prepare.
Being prepared for a presentation is absolutely vital. Not only being familiar with content but physically practicing the presentation out loud. Talking through what you are going to say to an empty room, can help you effectively verbalise ideas and build confidence.
There is a danger however in over preparing as being too rehearsed can make you inflexible. If you are relying on memorising a script and someone asks an unexpected question, it can be difficult to respond naturally without becoming flustered and thrown off track. The key is to be prepared with key points and overall structure but not to the point it makes you rigid.
Don’t try to be funny.
Everyone likes to think they can make the audience laugh by telling the odd joke however, this can often go wrong. There is nothing worse than laughing at your own joke but the rest of the room is staring at you wondering and waiting.
If it’s appropriate, tell a story or use an analogy, which can sometimes lighten the mood. This can also help you as the presenter seem more personable and relatable.
Don’t just talk, ask.
Rather than talking at people, ask questions of the group to show your interest in them. Do this early in your presentation to encourage engagement and be sure to involve the audience at regular intervals.
A word of caution; avoid asking questions that could provide controversial responses that you are not prepared to discuss or address. Any comment or response you ask for, must be acknowledged. Prepare in advance the questions you will ask, how you will ask them and at what point. Even requesting a show of hands can make a presentation seem less of a lecture.
One last tip is to understand that nerves are completely normal. Even experienced presenters feel some form of nerves however, some learn to channel these nerves into energy or passion in their topic. The audience has no idea what is going on inside of your head. You might be a bundle of nerves on the inside but what they see is a confident, calm and in control presenter.
When the atmosphere within an organisation is negative and the mood of employees is low, this sparks concern regarding the organisations climate.
Organisational climate can be influenced by both internal and external factors. It can change quickly through a single internal incident or event, which can cause a change in atmosphere based on how the event is interpreted by the people within the organisation.
Another internal influencer on climate includes the actions of the organisations leaders. If employees perceive a leader as being unjust or making misguided decisions for example, this can lead to shared perceptions such as disappointment, insecurity or worse.
Climate can also be influenced by external environmental factors, such as a downturn in a market or negativity surrounding an industry. An example of this is the retail sector, where retailers have experienced a drop in foot traffic and sales in recent years. This can influence the ‘vibe’ within stores and drag down the energy of a team.
How the organisation responds to such external influences can determine the impact it has on the internal climate. Positive environmental factors can give climate a lift such as a stimulus or market growth.
Another major factor that can influence organisational climate, is how the employees feel about the culture of the organisation. Culture and climate are not the same thing. Culture is the way the organisation does things, as opposed to how the people within the organisation feel about the way it does them. Culture refers to the values, principals and norms developed over time. If the culture of the organisation isn’t healthy or employees perceive the common behaviours and occurrences as ineffective or inappropriate, the climate will be negatively impacted.
When a climate issue is identified, it is common for team building activities and short term mood boosters to be introduced by leadership. However, there will be little long term impact on the climate without addressing the cultural issues that may be influencing it.
This can include identifying out dated or ineffective systems or values that have become ingrained in the culture. Common patterns of rewarding poor performance, lack of communication, the absence of a strategy or focus to name a few, can all be patterns people within an organisation perceive as negative or unfavourable.
When employees sense a genuine desire for change for good, with a positive culture and effective leadership, environmental influences and occasional incidents may cause a short term glitch in the climate, but the overall atmosphere and its effect on employee motivation behaviour can be minimal.
Many businesses are guilty of doing things a certain way, simply because that’s the way they’ve always done them. Sticking with methods that worked in the past but no one has thought to or had the courage to update. While a certain approach may have been successful in the past, they aren’t necessarily going to guarantee success in the present or the future.
Many industries today are very fast moving. With new technologies, changes in trends, more informed customers etc., businesses run the risk of being left behind if they stay with the same processes that once worked but aren’t relevant today.
Classic examples of this are policies and procedures that are outdated and have never been updated to suit today’s circumstances. Businesses can quickly be seen by customers or clients as being out of touch if they don’t seem to be moving with the times. Although long time customers may desire the familiar, attracting new customers means being relevant. Finding a balance between the two can be tricky.
A successful business, who were once a leader in an industry, can quickly lose their advantage. It is dangerous to become complacent and be of the mindset of being untouchable therefore, continuing on exactly the same path ignoring the need to evolve. While the competition find new and improved ways of doing things, they can soon overtake the one time leader.
To prevent this from happening, leaders within a business must be open to change, being open to adapting and adjusting to an ever-changing world. Seeking out new ideas, information and being on top of industry trends and changes. Leaders cannot afford to let themselves become stagnant and resist the need to embrace new platforms and ways of doing business that didn’t exist ten or even five years ago but are vital in business today.
Employing from the outside the company for key roles can help with this. While it is great to promote from within, having fresh eyes and a different voice can bring different ideas and a new approach that people who have been within a business for a long time, may not have. It’s vital these people are listened to and empowered to make the necessary changes, rather than viewed as radical outsiders.
Businesses who were once hugely successful can soon become a news story of another business closure because they didn’t evolve. They must learn from the mistakes of other businesses who have gone from the top of their game, to non-existent simply because they were set in their ways and weren’t open to change.