Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to Present to Your Peers

by Gilda Bonanno LLC www.gildabonanno.com

Sometimes you have to present to a group of your peers.  And you may be speaking about something they know quite a bit about themselves. How do you come across as being knowledgeable and confident without sounding condescending and cocky?


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You need to believe that you are qualified to give the presentation.  Start by understanding why you have been asked to give the presentation.  What is it about your knowledge or experience that makes you the perfect person to deliver this presentation? Perhaps you led the project or know the client better. 

(Yes, sometimes you are giving it just because nobody else wanted to do it.  But even in that case, you have earned the right to be presenting.)

Being clear about the reason ahead of time can help you focus and be more confident when you present in front of your peers, rather than being stuck in your head worrying, “Who am I to present? These people know more just as much – or more – than I do about this topic.” 

Once you cover this ground with yourself, you can focus on your material. Think about it from the audience’s point of view – what questions or concerns might they have? 

Then practice your presentation and focus on how you might be perceived by the audience.  Practice in front of a mirror or on camera.  In particular, be aware of your facial expressions and your tone.  Do you sound condescending, like you are lecturing at the audience?

Sometimes you intend to sound one way and you come across differently, so ask for feedback from a trusted colleague.  There can be a subtle difference between a smile and smirk or between sounding confident and sounding cocky and it’s helpful to get feedback about it.

 
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