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Know someone that can talk about improving speaking skills?

FHeyne
Employee
Employee

This feeling when you are presenting in front of an audience. It can reach from an absolute thrill to very strong and almost bottomless stage-fright. And sometimes it is all in one during one presentation.

You start off well because you have prepared yourself as good as possible. But then somewhere in the middle the faces of your audience just seem a bit too blank and maybe this person right in front of you is not just checking an important message on their phone but scrolling through social media. You are starting to wonder if the storyline you put together is really that intriguing and your voice just seems a bit too high-pitched for what you are trying to say. Did you put the right amount of text on your slides? And why exactly did you decide to wear that bright red shirt that now just seems like a desperate attempt to draw attention to yourself? Is that someone leaving to room/virtual meeting because your body language and all those “uhm’s” and “and’s” have tired them out and distracted from what you actually have to say?

I admit this is probably the worst-case scenario when you are presenting. But I am sure that pretty much everyone can relate to one thing or another that they have experienced while being in the spotlight on stage (be it virtual or in an actual room). This is exactly what we figured and the reason why we have started a “Speaker Enablement -Series”. It is dedicated to providing sessions on all of the above topics and more to help build the confidence but also the skill set to tackle almost anything that can come up while presenting or preparing a presentation.

We are continuously looking to offer new sessions in this area and are therefore, always looking for speakers. So, if you can share your experience on any of the above-mentioned issues, or if you know someone that you think might be a brilliant person to talk about this: please get in touch with us.

Because the better we can prepare our female experts to show their expertise on stage or elsewhere, the more visible they are going to become to everyone out there.

5 REPLIES 5

kaitlingorman
Employee
Employee

@FHeyne Thank you so much for sharing! I can definitely relate to all the above in my years of training clients both in person and virtual. Funny how depending if it was in person the things I would think about versus virtual. Both have hurdles to push through and opportunities to shine!

sveabecker
Employee
Employee

Me too, I can definitely relate to this as well @FHeyne and @kaitlingorman - not only when giving a presentation but also when having my Yoga class. And we need someone who tells us how to cope with these situations because our thoughts in that moment are only assumptions. Let me share in a brief story, how I meant this:

A couple of months ago I had a new attendee in my Yoga class. She has been brought by a friend of mine. It was a "light" class, basically for beginners, but that young lady didn't do much of the Yoga exercises (asanas) I instructed.  I had the feeling she was bored and didn't like the class. I just focused on myself and try to not think it over. After the class, my friend and the young lady left almost immediately, as they had another appointment. But my friend called me later the evening and told me... drum roll 🥁... that her friend loved the class, it was so good and she couldn't do all the exercises because of the pain she felt as it was so long ago she did sports. She felt encouraged and motivated by my Yoga class to go back to sports ... can you image that? 😅

THAT's what someone needs to teach us - it's all in our mind! We are prepared and doing a great job! We need tools to keep this in mind, no matter what happens. Because we cannot control our audience but ourselves. 😉

mcrapo
Galactic 5
Galactic 5

Be ready to change...

I was at a Teched where I had very few people show up for my session.   I had all these things I was going to say that I had prepared earlier.   Now my motto is if I can reach just one person and help them - That is a win!

So -  I moved in front of the session and gave the agenda.   Then I sat down on the stage close to where my 5 people were (That's a guess at this point).   I asked them what they wanted to focus on.   Was it something in the agenda?  Something that I might have the expertise to address.

Well that was a great and crazy session.   We jumped around from topic to topic.   And although I couldn't answer all the questions.  A lot of the times one of the people attending could.

Keep in mind this was all in person - so no taping for people to see later.   That meant no one would be disappointed.

That was my favorite presentation - I forgot about the powerpoint and the example I had prepared.   They went onto the sessions somewhere - I don't even remember the year.

As far as "real" speaking advice, the more you do it the easier it is.   Also if you could start with a group of people you  really don't know - that's great.   I always think to myself...   I won't ever see them again.   And of course prepare, prepare, prepare...   My dogs love my speeches.  Or the treats I pass out every now and then, but whatever.

I like that! Especially that you asked, what they wanted to focus on. You started from where your audience were. That's perfect! 🙂

SarahCoyle
Employee
Employee

Toastmasters is an international organization that provides years of expertise and a program to help you build speaking and leadership skills. Searching on SAP One it looks as if there are a few clubs within SAP.  I know there are some public ones available as well which you could probably find on the Toastmasters site.

Another thing that comes to mind is taking improvisation classes.  Some of the techniques and practice helps you be ready to adapt quickly.  Actually, one part of Toastmasters when I went through it was 5 minute impromptu speeches.