Public speaking

How to crack the art of inspiring presentation

Atholl Duncan

It’s time to address a major issue which has been hiding in full view in corporate life. We don’t do enough to help people in the skills of presenting and speechmaking.

The negative results of this are many and costly.  At a time when wellbeing is a top priority, we spread untold anxiety and stress.  At a time when revenue is under pressure, we let crucial sales pitches fail and cash slip from our grasps.  At a time when businesses are straining under an unprecedented pace and volume of change, we fail to get buy in to change.  At a time when we should be inspiring, we’re boring.

People have never before been deluged with such a tsunami of information. We are awash with corporate gobbledygook and the 44 slide Power Point deck. So, why do we pay so little attention to addressing this?

After a career spent straddling the media and corporate life, I am now on a crusade to do something about this.  Along with three like-minded musketeers, we’re finding that more and more businesses are realising that in this neglected area lies unseen value and unrealised potential.

  • Some studies claim as many as 75% of people face anxiety over presenting.  Many don’t sleep in the days leading up to key meetings.  Some actively avoid situations where they must present.
  • According to the State of Business Communications 2023 report, 38% of business leaders admit that poor presentations costs them dearly.
  • recent report from Axios HQ, which surveyed 540 business leaders and over a thousand employees, placed the cost of ineffective communication close to $2 trillion annually in the US alone.

We have created a methodology which works – “The Seven Secrets of Inspiring Presentation”. It sets the foundations upon which people can grow their presentation and speaking skills.  It also allows people to crack the mystiques of public speaking.

In a different role, as the Chair of UK Coaching, it’s my privilege to work with coaches at all levels – including our great Olympic coaches who are the power and influence behind gold-medal winning performances.  These Olympic coaches all share the same philosophy – you should focus on the process and not the end result.  This approach dispels anxiety and is the road to a leap in performance.

In our work we follow that philosophy too.  When working with corporate leaders to be inspiring in town hall meetings; with sales teams making a step change in their pitching; and with executives at all levels ‘getting to the point’ in board presentations, we focus on “The Seven Secrets”. They are –

  1. How to communicate in the silence.
  2. How to connect with your audience.
  3. How to turn presentations into conversations.
  4. How to command your space.
  5. How to use the message pyramid to get to the point.
  6. How to build your inner confidence.
  7. How to become truly memorable.

Once the secrets are explained, the transformation of individuals and teams can begin.  Over recent months, we have seen more and more leaders realising the power in this work. 

It has become our passion to end the era of gobbledygook; to turn around the internal snooze-athons; and move from boring to being memorable.  In doing this we also seek to address one of the greatest causes of anxiety in the corporate world.  It is time to take presentation training and speechmaking seriously.

Atholl Duncan is the Founder of The Edge Consultancy – experts in presentation training and speechmaking for business leaders and their teams.

This article is published under the terms of the DB Direct service

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