People like to start presentations with a joke, but that can backfire if the joke isn’t funny to this audience.
if you don’t say it right and especially if it is offensive to some. People don’t want jokes, per se, but they do want levity – it’s like the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. Personally I prefer observational humor about the current situation – the room, the food, something notable – it feels more in-the-moment and not rehearsed. Smiles help, too.
10. Humor can be effective, but the safest humor is self-deprecation.
Make a joke about yourself and people might identify better with you. But even that has to be tasteful – avoid fat jokes and ethnic jabs. We all have plenty of personality quirks to play with, and not taking yourself seriously will bring the audience to your side.
11. Your personal energy can get into a positive feedback loop with the audience and everything will go really well.
But other times, like the one I described above, they resist. My personal solution is to pump even more energy out into the room, but then the “going too fast” problem rears its head. You can reset yourself by allowing a few slow, deep, silent breaths. Breathing will not only support your voice and body, but it will clear out the negative self-talk.
12. Ultimately, you have to grow to trust yourself, to believe in what you know to be true.
You have to be yourself and leave it out there. Some will get it, some won’t, and you can’t win every time, and you can’t win over everyone. You can’t beat yourself up if one speaking event doesn’t work out, nor should you let it go to your head if one goes very well.
13. I like to think that what I do when I speak isn’t about me.
It’s about what I have to say, that I am the conduit for this information. Like that, I am less likely to take it personally, less likely to make this feel like a referendum on my value as a human being.
So your life as an entrepreneur can be very rewarding beyond just running a business and making some money.
You can be a leader, a pillar of your community. You can become comfortable expressing yourself in front of any audience. You can be a thought-leader. You can do this by overcoming your fear of public speaking.
You can do this by developing your presentation skill and confidence.
About the author
Carlos E. Garcia, born to Mexican immigrant parents, grew up in East Los Angeles and attended Pomona College, UC Berkeley and National University (BA, MA and MBA respectively). He has over thirty years of experience in the field of US Hispanic consumer research, twenty one years at the helm of his own company, Garcia Research. Most recently SVP at GfK: Knowledge Networks, where he headed up their Hispanic research efforts. He's gone full circle and now back at the helm of Garcia Research, a Hispanic market and Multicultural-focused research firm.Website