Welcome to "Work It Girl" - a new series all about career advice for the 9 to 5 girl boss. First up is public speaking. Ugh. It's kind of the worst, right? But any successful gal needs to learn how to find the confidence, command a room and get it done! Here are my top ten tips to make an impression in the board room without losing your cool:
- Notes! I swear by them and even go the distance to jot down an actual script. Bullet points never do me any good and instead, I write down complete thoughts for each slide. I do this the night before a presentation to keep everything fresh in my mind.
- Sit if you want to sit. Don't ever feel the pressure to stand just because your coworkers want to hop out of their seats. Do what feels comfortable for you.
- Make it personal. I always try to insert a little anecdote about why or how the subject has meaning for me. It helps give the audience a glimpse of your personality, but remember to keep it brief.
- Throw in some fun facts. I love a good soundbite and always try to pull in a cool stat or little tidbit about the topic. It's helpful to stay informed about your industry, so you can have these fun facts at the ready.
- The rule of three. My old boss and mentor taught me this and she was totally right. Breaking down your thought into three succinct phrases is this magical way of ensuring that the audience will absorb and remember what you said.
- Practice, practice, practice. I use my time in the shower to memorize my script and practice out loud.
- Hydrate! Keep a glass of water at your side at all times. With nerves comes dry mouth and nothing is worse than this feeling. Pause and sip on the regular to keep you on point.
- Avoid water-repellent fabrics like rayon, silk and polyester. Stress sweat is not cute, so plan your outfit accordingly.
- Smile! It's contagious.
- Last but not least, take notes while others are speaking. I always try to refer to previous comments to make a stronger connection. It shows you're listening and everyone wants to know they're being heard.
Now go and rule the world.