As a financial professional, you have the knowledge and skills to guide people in their retirement strategies. When people are made aware of their financial health, they are better able to take steps to develop a retirement strategy. Workshops provide a great method of educating people on what financial health looks like. You’re the expert in all things retirement strategy – but are you an expert public speaker? Knowing how to share your expertise effectively and in an engaging way is as important as knowing what to share. In order to make an impact on a prospect's retirement planning strategy, you need to make an impact on the prospect.
Here are six tips to improve your presentation skills and build your confidence in front of an audience:
Don’t stop practicing! The only way to speak calmly and confidently in front of an audience is to do it. And do it regularly. But, don’t just practice by yourself – you have to practice in front of an audience in order to be comfortable. Consider each presentation you give as practice for the next one. Another practice tactic is to get in front of the camera. Record yourself delivering your presentation. Trust me, recording yourself can provide the same discomfort as a crowd of people, so working through those nerves in front of the camera is great practice. Plus, you get the added benefit of watching the recording, so you know what to practice.
2. Speak slowly
Though it is very common to speak quickly when you're nervous, it can have a negative effect on your presentation. Remember, slow your natural pace and breath. Purposefully slow your speech and focus on paying attention to what you say and how you say it. Pausing helps calm your nerves and gives time for the audience to digest what you're saying.
3. Know your slides
Know your presentation, but don’t memorize it. Memorizing your presentation can be a problem because it doesn't leave room for variables. Someone asking a question could throw you off track and leave you stumbling. The slides should help you, but you shouldn’t have to read off them. Instead, aim to know the content of each slide inside and out. That way your delivery will be natural and not sound rehearsed.
4. Be conversational
Think of your presentation as a conversation. Keep it more casual and natural. It can alleviate some of the internal pressure and fear you might feel. Visualize yourself in your ideal setting. Try to recreate the same tone that you would have sitting down with your clients in your office. You want each attendee to feel like they had a personal interaction with you by the presentation's end.
Keep your audience engaged and alert by sharing a funny anecdote, varying your tone and cadence, and asking the crowd questions. An engaging presentation can make all the difference in how your audience views you. Make it your goal to be memorable.
6. Remember your message
While you're caught up in the anxiety of public speaking, you likely are just focused on getting through the workshop without incident. But, remember that you're not just reciting a presentation you memorized, you are sharing important information with the audience that they need to leave with. Keep your message top of mind. Though it's challenging, remember you are the expert. Just stay focused and let your passion for your work shine through.
Consistent practice in front of crowds is the main way to overcome the fear and anxiety of presenting. Keep these tips in mind when you do present. Don't give up if the first few workshops don't go well! It takes time and practice.
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