Change can be uncomfortable. During Dardis Communications workshops, participants often express skepticism when they’re asked to try something new. They’ll say, “This feels weird” or “Really? That doesn’t feel good. It can’t be right.”
Our response? “Your job is to be good for your audience, not to feel good.”
In his book Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius, author Erik Wahl outlines four steps to provoke discomfort in your life, so you can embrace—and eventually welcome—change. These steps can improve your presentation skills immensely:
Want to be a better communicator? Start somewhere. All good speakers incorporate techniques, and they started by first learning those techniques, then practicing them and finally mastering them. Just remember: Every great speaker was in your shoes at one point.
Small changes can lead to a big impact. Make a commitment to focus on one area. Let’s say your goal is to remove the pesky and irritating filler words— such as “um,” “ah,” “like,” “ya know.” Make a 30- to 45-day commitment to focus on that one thing each day and truly master that area. Then add another area to work on.
Some discomfort is beneficial to professional growth. Dardis tells our participants, “Go big or go home!” That means standing up straight—Mom was right, no slouching—and using big gestures to punctuate your message. Don’t worry about how you feel, worry about how you are making your audience feel.
Rather than end your presentation with “I hope you liked my presentation, any questions?” try, “Using these findings, we are going to…” or “Given this information, our next steps are…” Don’t make your audience guess what to do next—tell them.
Huge rewards await anyone willing to put themselves out there, so go all in and take risks—soon you’ll be a speaking sensation!
Need a place to start? Sign up for coaching through our Leadership Presentation and Image Skills program today!