They say that public speaking ranks first among all the things people fear, which is a little hard to believe when you put it up against death, monsters-under-the-bed, spiders and mud (ok, I know I’m probably the only one afraid of mud). But still, I understand the fear of speaking in public.
I conquered my own fear years ago, quite deliberately, because I realised that to not do so would limit my career success. My cure included a combination of Toastmasters and IABC. I joined a local Toastmasters club for a few months, just long enough to learn the basics of public speaking, then I honed my newfound skills speaking at IABC chapter events — first my own, then other chapters. I had one speech (on networking skills, which I still give) and I gave it again and again, gaining confidence and improving each time. Now, some 18 years later, I’m comfortable in front of crowds of any size, and although it’s not my primary focus, I’m sometimes asked by clients to provide presentation coaching for senior executives. Even more frequently, I’m asked by more junior professionals for resources that will help them develop basic skills for even in-house presentations . So when IABC Tucson member Marilyn Pincus sent me her latest book, Boost Your Presentation IQ: Proven Techniques for Winning Presentations and Speeches, I was eager to read it.
The book is divided into two sections. Part One takes you through a Presentation IQ Test. What’s great about this section is it deals with all types of presentations, from presenting a proposal in a departmental meeting to giving a keynote address. The test format, giving the answers as you go along, is a quick, easy read.
But I have to confess, it’s the second part of the book that I like best, because it’s full of solid information you can put to use immediately — from tips on preparing your presentation, to “20 Strategies for Combatting Stage Fright.” There’s a last-minute checklist, and a robust section on getting feedback. The whole 48-page Part Two is organized into bite-size pieces that can be used as cheat-sheets to come back to again and again. So it’s ideal for those who have limited time for reading, and those who want quick results to help with that presentation next Tuesday.
I was really pleased to get the chance to meet Marilyn on my recent visit to Tucson. She’s a long-time IABC member, an accomplished author and ghost-writer for other authors. And she makes a fabulous breakfast! Boost Your Presentation IQ, published by McGraw Hill, is available from the IABC Knowledge Centre (with a discount for members), as well as on Amazon (and it’s even available for Kindle). By the way, Marilyn is on Twitter as @MPwitter, so you can follow her there.