As a child I loved telling stories. At infant school I would enjoy sitting on “the big chair” during group discussions and sharing my experiences. Later on I learnt that I also loved being given the turn to present things at school as well as the dreaded book discussions.
I know that this is not the case for very many people. That speaking in public can be very scary if not nerve wracking. I like helping other people with these issues. I like to help them step outside of their comfort zone. Even people who have been giving presentations for a long time can still make big steps in improving their presentations.
My hands itch when I am at a conference. The speaker often has a very interesting message but simply does not know how to convey his message and allows the audience to “switch off”. While with a few adjustments and/or tips the audience could have been enthralled.
I like to help people who have the courage to improve on their presentation techniques. Both on the content side as well as the delivery. Because I believe that everyone (yes, everyone) can give a presentation.
I still remember my first business presentation like it was yesterday. Despite swallowing half a pot of tranquilisers, nothing could stop my nerves. My audience consisted of only 4 people and I wore a special rollerneck to cover up the red blotches in my neck.
Bearing that in mind, how could I possibly become a presentation trainer?
The answer is quite simple. Lots of practise and just going for it. I see giving a presentation as a sport, the more you do it, the better you get.
When I took over LaVi communicatie from its previous owner in 2006, I obviously first attended the course myself. And despite already giving presentations for 10 years at the time I learnt more than I could ever have imagined.
For all the aspect of presenting I learnt techniques, that help in all kinds of circumstances. A notewothy start, a relaxed pose, maintaining eye contact with the audience, transforming critical questions in favour of my message, structuring my story and a powerful ending.
Each training I meet participants that dread presenting as much as I used to. The challenge for me is to see them, at the end of the training, standing in front of the group completely at ease and making a connection with their audience.
The first time I saw Steve Jobs give a presentation was in 1998. Fellow students of mine were huge fans of Steve Jobs and his company that they had arranged that we could see the presentation live. That was very special because the presentation was in the middle of the night Dutch time and the University was the only place where the internet had enough bandwidth to show the presentation live.
It was quite an experience and from that night on I knew that when you give a presentation you have to speak the language of your audience. You can develop a great product, but if you cannot easily explain the benefits to your audience no one will buy it.
To give a good presentation you need to cross the bridge towards your audience! This is where it goes wrong for many experts but from now this need not the case for you.
The most important tool for giving a presentation is you yourself. In our course I teach you to use this tool in the most effective way so that you can get the best out of yourself.
From a young age I loved people and stories. I liked to listen and I enjoyed sharing experiences. I wanted to understand and feel the emotion behind the story. If I felt it, then I felt connected with the other person.
When I was 10 years old, we moved to England. The desire to be able to communicate with everyone, made that I quickly mastered the language and within a short space of time was able to call myself a native speaker. The adventure in England was to last 20 years. Being bilingual, made that I could communicate easily everywhere I went and I was rarely at a loss for words. I was not often insecure except when I had to tell my story in front of a group. Suddenly my self confidence would be replaced by a great feeling of discomfort. I would be unsure where to look, how to stand and my self assured voice would become a mere whisper.
Every presentation I ever had to give at school and during my student days would be skillfully avoided. But imagine having a job these day without ever having to present. It is unimaginable.
The day that I discovered that I could overcome the feeling that hindered my presentations by learning a few basic techniques was a real eye opener for me. I decided to take on the challenge in order to be more succesful and gain pleasure from presenting. I would like nothing more than to share this experience with others and inspire them to also take on this challenge.