Be your best self at your next presentation

By Katja van Koten

Many moons ago I was a goalkeeper in field hockey. I wore extensive protective gear, like a helmet, foamed leg guards, and big gloves. I wasn’t too bad. As any keeper I had my strengths and weaknesses. A particular strength of mine was stopping the ball with my stick. Either I stopped the ball with my stick and kicked it away, or I redirected the ball with my stick. But my major weakness were the soft balls, the balls that came at low speed and should be o so easy to stop …. Not so. My impatience could not handle this, I couldn’t focus… That was the ‘weakness’ so to speak, not the soft balls. Those easy balls weren’t important enough, until I missed one. But of course it did matter. It affected my confidence not only with every soft ball I missed, but also the ones I clumsy managed to stop.

The same is true for your next presentation.

If you arrive last minute, rush in as you’re running late and start straight away you could probably manage. But would you feel relaxed?

If you don’t spend a little extra care on your power point slides and during your presentation you notice they are not in the good order, you would probably manage. But would you feel comfortable?

If you don’t check if your mic is working before your presentation and as soon as you start you notice something is wrong, you would probably manage. You can make a joke with the AV technician on site, and even share a laugh with your audience. Silly me! But would you feel at the top of your game from the start?

Question is do you want to be able to manage, or do you want to be your best self and sparkle? If you want to be your best self, than these little things, these easy things, do matter. Perhaps it doesn’t matter for the audience, who might not even notice your ‘mistakes’ most of the time. But it certainly matters for yourself, because you do notice them.

The funny thing is if you take care of these little things, if you stop the soft balls, you will feel more confident sharing your message. And then you will make the bigger saves!

How will you be your best self for your next presentation?

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