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Believe in Yourself and They Will Listen


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If anyone knows about confidence, it's Cheryl Cran of C. Cranspeak International Inc. of Coquitlam. On average, she delivers some 150 presentations a year and, during one particularly impassioned session, found herself dodging flying furniture. But she, like all of us, still has her problems.

Cran eats little if anything beforehand. Otherwise, it can mean another nerve-induced trip to the restroom. "It happens all the time," she admits. "It's the adrenaline."

Well before her speech, Cran habitually cruises the room, introducing herself to individual audience members "I meet as many people as possible beforehand and when I get up before them, I feel as though I've got some 'friends' in the crowd." This does wonders for her confidence. Long before she enters the presentation site, she begins her mental preparation. Using positive visualization, she imagines the group as warm, receptive, wanting and ready to hear and participate in her presentation. She admits these positive images monopolize her thoughts the night before and the morning of the speech. "In fact, it continues until about five minutes before I turn on that mike."

Cran tops up her confidence by being "totally prepared", anticipating everything that could go wrong, it going wrong and then mentally preparing a number of solutions. "I actually over-prepare and then let it go."

Another confidence booster: to others, public speaking is seen as a fearsome thing. "I try to remember that the audience is so glad to not be the one up there, they are actually glad to see it's you," she says with a laugh.

Expect things to go wrong. On one occasion, the power went out - you guessed it - right in the middle of a PowerPoint presentation. After banquets provided candles, Cran took a flashlight and used it mockingly on herself to create a cryptic face. The show went on, with a lot of laughs and not another hitch. When glitches happen, deflect them with humor. "You just have to love all this technology!" It breaks up the tension and "everyone can relate." Meanwhile, by word or action, keep the presentation moving, even telling the audience the slide (or the software) is not germane to the ultimate purpose of the speech. (And if you're working for Microsoft, well, take comfort in the fact that Apple is hiring.)


  • Take the focus off yourself. Keep it on the audience and the outcome of the presentation.
  • Dress the part for both comfort and confidence. Cran herself is most comfortable in a dressy pantsuit as she tends to move around the room a lot. Pants let her bend over and move fast and this makes her feel "more comfortable as a woman."
  • To boost confidence, use the color, style and apparel you know works best for you. "Looking the part is vital." For women, she advises more visually strong makeup to keep one's face from being lost to the back of the room.
  • " When and if the butterflies flutter, silently tell yourself, 'I'm serving my purpose. I'm honored and blessed that the audience is listening to me.' Do it right and you'll make any audience member think it's the other way around."

About the Author

Cheryl Cran, CSP President of Synthesis at Work Inc. works with organizations in significantly increasing productivity and profitability through communication strategies that improve employee performance, leverage team synergy and build extraordinary leaders. Many of Synthesis at Work's clients are award winning industry leaders.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-10-24 01:52:17 in Marketing Articles

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