Saturday, 21 June 2008

Presentation elation - Communication and CSR

Yesterday I gave my first presentation, all by myself.
I was talking about Corporate and Social Responsibility and my company's focus
- the importance of effective communication

It's quite late in my working career to be having my first solo presentation but we all have to start somewhere!

I spent a week preparing, watching videos and reading up as much as I could about the do's and don'ts of Public speaking.

All week I swung between excitement, over-confidence and utter anxiety. I wasn't sure how well I would do, but I was really looking forward to the opportunity and I couldn't wait to take on the challenge.

At 12.30pm on a Friday afternoon in Birmingham I began to speak; all eyes on me. My back to the projector as I'd vowed to remove as many words from my slides as possible, leaving myself little-to-no safety net in the post-it note cue cards I was clutching tightly in my hands! I was surprised that the words coming from my mouth were coming out at a fair pace and that they made sense (at least I thunk they did). People were engaged and paying attention, so much so that when I made eye contact with them and nodded to emphasise my point - THEY NODDED WITH ME!!!!

It was insane - I had an epiphany halfway through as well, I've sat in presentations before and found myself drifting off, out of the room and into a land of previously undiscovered thoughts. And I can remember thinking at times that I wouldn't have minded if the person speaking got up, walked out of the room and joined me. But there I was giving a talk myself and no one was standing in my place, If I stopped speaking, messed up or did the moon walk they would have noticed. At that moment I found my comfort zone, I forgot I was holding cue cards and I spoke directly from the heart about the subjects and their importance.

I don't know how the good souls on the receiving end of my talk felt but for me it was riveting and once I'd got to the end (after about 30-40 minutes) they asked some REALLY good questions which affirmed their engagement throughout my talk; it almost turned into a meeting rather than a standard Q&A.

But anywho, Public speaking is something I can see myself becoming quite passionate about, so I will continue to practise and work on the skill. If anyone reading this is interested in developing their skills further here are some links and vids I found useful:

"Winner says: If it's to be, it's up to me" .- Shiv Khera


I hope some people find these links useful, I learnt something yesterday; If you like something, do it. Don't get in your own way, don't let yourself be the one reason why you miss out.

- Mr. Devo

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