That Defining Moment
It’s a defining moment in your life. Your little company, on which your life’s work is based, has been doing amazing work. Now, that prestigious business college has asked you to give a presentation to its final year students. They want you to explain how you noticed a gap in the market and set out to fill it. There will be press coverage. There’s a good chance that it could bring more business your way. But there’s a slight problem.
What Seems To Be The Problem?
You feel like a fraud. How can you lecture business students when you don’t have a business degree? So think of it this way They’re studying business. You’ve lived it. You’re the one from whom they want to learn. If your company is doing well and you’ve been making profits, you must be great at what you do. But you feel you’re not professional enough to lecture business students. It’s true that appearing professional is important. It boosts your self-esteem, and most importantly of all, it totally enhances your company’s credibility.
The Good News
Relax! If you need to do something to look or sound more professional, that’s not difficult to accomplish. There are a few points to keep in mind.
• Prepare your presentation meticulously.
• Do some work on looking professional.
• Do some preparation on sounding professional.
• Prepare a professional social media background,
We’ll go through each point.
Preparation of Presentation
You’ll have to hold the attention of an auditorium full of people, so stick to your basic premise. You noticed a gap in the local economy for your service. You cold emailed a few local businesses and got a warm response from some of them. You began working for two companies and then other businesses approached you. Soon you had to hire two assistants to help you keep up with the business coming your way. While sharing your success story, you might throw in a little anecdote about one of the low spots to show that it hasn’t all been roses along the way. But keep your talk light, humorous and positive. In spite of your success, be a little humble. You’ll win everyone’s heart.
If your professional equipment is smart looking, preferably a recent laptop model, this will enhance the professionalism of your look. Make sure you have smart presentation binders. They don’t have to be the most expensive, but they should look neat, crisp and new.
You can probably gage the environment you will be presenting in before the presentation. As a rule of thumb, dress a little smarter than your audience would. But don’t overdo it. Generally speaking, smart clothes in sober colours will lend authority. Don’t wear heels if they don’t suit you. Make sure your hair is neatly combed. Studies have revealed that a touch of red lipstick is usually always appreciated on a woman (Guéguen, 2012).
Speak to your audience slowly, using the active rather than the passive voice. Don’t use slang and curse words. When changing topic, use phrase like: ‘let’s move on’. Vary your tone a little to keep your audience engaged.
People may search for your profile afterwards. Your Facebook and Twitter pages should look professional. Family topics are fine, but stick to holidays and pets. There should be no whining, complaining or bitching. The tone should be upbeat, positive and businesslike.
So now you’re all prepared. Go now and do well. Wishing you the very best of luck.