Dear Daisy, I’ve just started a new job and may have fibbed a bit on the resume. They’ve put me in charge of our all external company presentations – but I’m terrified of public speaking. Any tips?

Tame Talker

Dear Tame Talker,

Well, that’ll teach ya! When fibbing you should really just stick to age, weight and if that hot blonde thinks you’re single. Actually, in all three scenarios it’ll all come back to bite you in the butt – is it so hard to be honest?!

For some, public speaking is considered quite the thrill. The sense of holding a captivated (though captive) audience can bolster ones ego and their confidence in the workplace. It’s not just for drama queen’s either, it’s something that anyone can learn tricks to finessing – you just need a little push.

Being fired may be just that ‘push’ you need, so I’m thinking you’re ready to learn the secrets. Since I’m no expert, I’ll just share with you what I think are some of the worst presentations I’ve been to, and hopefully you can learn from these examples.

1. Power to the point
I’ve been to countless death-by-PowerPoint presentations and guess what’s the common denominator – the presenter forgets that we can all read and repeats word-for-word the slides he’s (presumably) put together. Don’t do that, it’s patronising, boring and frankly, shows disrespect for your audience’s time as they could have just as easily been delivered via YouSendIt (now Hightail).

 2. Jokes
Experts say to start the presentation with a little lighthearted banter. That’s all well and good if you’re able to relay jokes well, but if not, you’re immediately faced with bored, confused faces and rolling eyes. Test out your jokes with someone who’s not paid to laugh at them (i.e. not your barista or hairdresser) and see if you’re made for comedy. I’d also stick to PG rated hilarity, as you never know whom you’re going to offend.

3. Posture
There’s nothing more distracting than a presenter running around the stage or slumped over a podium. If you have reason to walk around – do so – but it’s not a race, keep eye contact with the crowd, if they can’t see you – they’re not going to listen to you.

Now for some homework, go watch some TED videos and fix up that resume, you’re probably going to need it.

DD