Blog - Emerging Women

Key Tools for Killer Presentations

Want to stand up and speak out with confidence, genuinely inspiring and influencing your audience?

Whether it's a high-stakes presentation on a stage or a high-impact conversation in an office, Nan Crawford has some tools for you (and for an audio version of these tools, listen to Power Practice #16: Stepping Up and Speaking Out).

Power Practice: Stepping Up and Speaking Out

When preparing an impactful presentation, Nan says, it's important to consider 2 realms: the internal factors of strategy and the external factors of delivery.

Internal Strategy

Ask yourself:

  1. Who is my audience?
  2. What do they need?
  3. How do I prepare to deliver that to them?

Identifying your audience and their needs is pretty straightforward. But how do you deliver on those needs if you're busy worrying, "How do I keep from freaking out?!" That's where #3 comes in.

It's all about focus, Nan says. If you struggle with stage-fright or nerves, you can let go of that jagged energy by shifting your focus from fear to desire. Shift your focus from fear of failure to your desire to make a difference. Shift your focus from the fear of judgement to the desire to be generous. Shift your focus from a fear of rejection to a desire to connect. From fear of forgetting what you're going to say to a desire to guide the audience to a place of discovery.

Shifting focus from fear to desire to be of service will allow you to connect with your audience and their needs in a way that is authentic, confident, and effective.

External Delivery

Ask yourself:

  1. How will I walk into the room? Where will I land? How will I hold my body?
  2. What am I aware of in terms of my breathing?
  3. Are my voice, facial expressions, and gestures congruent with my message?
  4. What do I want my audience to feel, say, and do?

The way you move and position yourself sends messages to the audience before you've even spoken a word. If you plan ahead of time how to position yourself so that energy is flowing through your spine, you'll foster an immediate connection between your audience and your intention.

Breathing is another opportunity to send a clear message. So many of us live in a world of full plates and fast lanes. When you are "extravagant with our breath," as Nan encourages, it allows you a moment of clarity to choose words that are delicious and juicy. More than that, it's an act of generosity to your audience, giving them time and space to let your ideas (and their own) really land.

By taking big full breaths you give energy to your voice, allowing for concise, crisp, and clear words spoken with conviction. You connect with your body, creating facial expressions and gestures that are vibrant, alive, and compelling.

All of these factors are driven by your overall intention. Writing action verbs in the margins of your presentation will help you connect with what you want your audience to do, say, and feel. Maybe you want to challenge them or shake them up. Perhaps you need to dismiss a concern or clarify a point. You can paint a vivid picture. You can advocate, warn, or reassure.

It's important to note: the question is not "What do I want them to learn?" If your intention is to inform, you are not going to inspire our audience to take action. "We're all drowning in information," Nan says. "What we hunger for is insight and inspiration, for energy and encouragement."

We're thrilled to have Nan Crawford bringing her insight and inspiration to the stage at Emerging Women Live 2017, along with killer presentations from Elizabeth Gilbert, Sera Beak, Alicia Garza, Esther Perel, Amanda Steinberg, and so many more. Register today for an some unforgettable energy and encouragement:

Emerging Women Live 2017

Remember: how you deliver your message is just as vital as what you have to say. With Nan's tools, you are well on your way to giving a presentation that will genuinely inspire and influence your audience.

And be sure to tell us what killer presentations you have in the works in the comments!

  • public speaking
  • authentic connection
  • high stakes presentations
  • authentic communication
  • stage fright

What do you think? Let us know below.