HR & Management

Presenting sends fear through the nation

2 min read

10 June 2011

Jeremy Paxman’s mispronunciation of “government cuts”. King George VI’s infamous stammer. Public speaking isn't easy. And it instills the fear of God in almost half the UK population.

Despite our national fixation for blogging, tweeting and building an audience online, we are still a nation running scared of public speaking and group presenting. 

According to a survey of 2,000 people across the UK (commissioned by Article10 Presentations), nearly half of us (45 per cent) hate public speaking with a passion and fail to prepare properly for a presentation. 

More than two thirds (67 per cent) of those surveyed said that presenting or public speaking was among their top ten fears with “stage fright” cited by around two thirds (63 per cent) of respondents as a major obstacle to delivering a smooth presentation.  

The biggest fear for over a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents is looking stupid up on stage. One in five (21 per cent) say they clam up – no surprise given that 63 per cent of us believe our career success will be determined, in part, by our ability to present confidently.

To avoid Death by PowerPoint, here are some tips from Article10 Presentations:

  • Find your passion. If the topic is uninspiring to you, you’ll struggle to inspire others and hold their attention.

  • Know your audience. f you understand them you can tailor your presentation around topics that are relevant to them.

  • Start the beginning of the presentation on an emphatic note to ensure your audience listen from the get-go.

  • Try to tell a story with the presentation. Real-life anecdotes bring the more boring stuff to life.

  • Know your content. If you have to read every slide, you need to do more work.

  • Don’t over decorate your slides as it can create a tacky image.

  • Long sentences are dull and over-complicated. Use key words and phrases to help make your point.

If you’re still quaking in your boots, check out our presenting top tips from Tina Coulsting Carter, co-founder of Mentor Communications Consultancy and author of Get the Presentation X-Factor. And make sure you avoid these nine classic presenting boobies.

Picture source