Many professionals, academicians and business owners know the hard facts: confidence in public speaking boosts your career. Follow these 7-steps for unstoppable success in front of every audience.

Many smart people make foolish choices when it comes to public speaking. Instead of taking a presentation skills training, they rely on habits gathered over many years to prepare an effective presentation.

If presenting and public speaking is part of your daily work life, it pays to invest in presentation skills training. You’ll learn key strategies to feel confident, centered and on top of your game—in front of any audience.

Whether you plan on taking an online course in presentation skills or attend a seminar in public speaking, knowing the key steps to success is critical. Use this short overview to plan your steps to unstoppable rewards.

Step 1. Master Your Attitude
If you’re repeating ‘I hate presenting’ like a religious mantra, guess what’s going to happen? You will hate presenting!

It’s only natural that our attitudes are shaped by what we think, say and do repeatedly. Instead of polishing negative views about presenting, look for ways to welcome the opportunity.

Step 2. Define Your Aims
What is your intention and purpose in giving a presentation? Are you hoping to gain more confidence through experience? Do you know what the audience is looking for? Are you clear on what you would like to achieve as an outcome.

By defining your goals before you plan your presentation, you’ll be better equipped to build your message to achieve your desired outcome.

Step 3. Select Your Content
Selection is one of the toughest parts of presenting. There’s always a lot to say on a topic that is near and dear to your heart. When faced with a time limit of 30 or 60 minutes, you must make tough decisions.

While you’re selecting your precise content, consider how to engage each audience for maximum impact. This will often help you choose what to leave in and what to leave out for another presentation.

Step 4. Choose Media and Technology
When planning your presentation, consider the available technology, media and fit for the environment. If you’re presenting over lunch, look for ways to interact with your audience that doesn’t require dimming lights and relying on slides.

Organize your presentation to work no matter what happens. If all technology fails, can you speak without your slides? If the room is changed and the set up you planned must be altered, be unflappable. Have an alternate Plan B or Plan C to shift into.

Step 5. Structure Interaction
Plan, prepare and rehearse how to engage your audience. Prepare for planned and impromptu questions. Practice for potential challenges and make sure that you can respond with calm poise and a good sense of humor.

One of the best ways to practice your skill in interaction is with a tough-minded peer. Ask him or her to challenge your delivery. When you can respond precisely without getting impatient, judgmental or upset, then you’re ready to go.

Step 6. Prepare For The Unexpected
Every professional public speaker knows that Murphy’s Law is true. “Whatever can go wrong…will go wrong.” The only question is: When?

If you prepare for the unexpected, you’ll be much more likely to be able to roll with the punches and keep your cool when it happens.

Step 7. Ask For and Listen To Feedback
Ask peers, clients and prospects for feedback. Ask your team. Ask your boss. Ask people who don’t know your topic. Ask an objective and skilled presentation coach.

The more you ask for feedback, the more you’ll learn. Remember to use the other half of the equation. Listen to what people tell you. A shocking number of professionals ask for feedback, but then argue with what they hear. Keep an open mind and an open attitude when people point out what you could do more of…and what you could improve.

By taking a precise step-by-step approach to presentation skills, you can build your confidence and ace your presentation—to any audience.

Author's Bio: 

Milly Sonneman is a recognized expert in visual language. She is the co-director of Presentation Storyboarding, a leading presentation training firm, and author of the popular guides: Beyond Words and Rainmaker Stories available on Amazon. Milly helps business professionals give winning presentations, through Email Marketing skills trainings at Presentation Storyboarding. You can find out more about our courses or contact Milly through our website at: