UK senior managers dread public speaking more than any other part of their job, according to a survey of 200 business leaders and IT managers.
Of those questioned, 58% said public speaking was the most daunting part of their job, and 41% said presenting to the board made them nervous.
Khalid Aziz, chairman of The Aziz Corporation, which commissioned the research, said, "Despite their seniority, many IT directors still worry that they are labelled with the 'tech nerd' stereotype. This personal angst can be most acute when they compare themselves or feel that they are being compared with peers from more general business backgrounds, who they presume will automatically have more experience of and flair for public speaking."
Aziz offered the following tips for effective public speaking and boardroom presentations:
- Research the audience. Find the overlap between what you want to say and what the audience wants to hear
- Don't hedge around what you want to say. If you are looking for a certain amount of money or budget, mention this first
- Before you start to speak, stand for a few moments, establish eye contact with your audience, smile at them, and only begin when you have their full attention
- Stick to the allotted time. One slide usually equates with two or three minutes of speaking
- Don't bombard your audience with too many facts. Maintain their interest with "killer information" - something they did not know
- Use inclusive language: avoid the use of "I" in favour of "we".