5 Tips To Improve Your Next Private Lending Presentation
Your ability to speak in public is an essential, yet underrated, aspect of running a business. When most people think of public speaking they think of talking to a room full of hundreds of people. You may get to this point over time but public speaking for you can mean talking to dozen people at a networking event or a single investor you are trying to get capital from. It can be trying to secure a deal from a distressed homeowner or making a pitch to a potential partner. Improving your public speaking doesn’t mean you will go on a speaking tour, but it can help attract a strategic partnership or your next big deal. Speaking in public takes some getting used to but once you do it a few times it will become second nature. Here are five tips to help improve your next presentation, big or small.
- Appearance matters. Whether you are meeting someone for the first time or have an established relationship, appearance matters. Like it or not but you are immediately judged on how you look. You don’t need to have a freshly tailored suit, but your appearance should be representative of your business. If you are trying to secure capital from a hard money lender you should wear something appropriate. Shorts, flip flops and a T-shirt is probably not going to do you any favors. If you are comfortable in your clothes you are more likely to be comfortable with your presentation. A power suit is called that because in theory it makes you feel powerful. Speaking in public is very much about confidence and your ability to connect to whoever you are talking to. The first impression is formed based on your appearance.
- Have a plan (but be ready to deviate from it). Public speaking is one of the biggest phobias people have. It has been said that people who fear speaking in public would rather be in the casket than give the eulogy at a wake. This may be a bit extreme but speaking in public is a problem for many people. One of the biggest reasons why is they don’t like the feeling of having everyone look at them, especially when they don’t have anything to say. The best way around this is by having a plan prior to your presentation. The more comfortable you are with the material the more comfortable you will be presenting it. Instead of having a dedicated script that you memorize you should have a rough outline in mind. Unless you are speaking to a room full of people you never know where the presentation is going to go. Most networking meetings are informal and there can be questions at any time. If you follow a script too closely you can let an interruption completely throw you off. By having a plan, knowing the material but being flexible enough to adapt will help you thrive with your presentations.
- Utilize your personality. The best presentations are the ones where the speaker uses their personality. Many speakers, regardless of the event, are afraid to sprinkle some personality into their presentations. If you have a good sense of humor or something unique about your delivery, it is ok to let it shine. The alternative is giving the same boring, monotone delivery that is easily forgotten. If you are yourself, making jokes and using self-deprecating humor whatever you say will be remembered long after your presentation is over. When you get right down to it people want to work with people they feel comfortable with. If someone can relate to you or you make them laugh you greatly increase the chance for a connection. On the flip side you may have a great service to provide or something useful to share but if you sound like everyone else it will get lost in the shuffle.
- Eye contact/confidence. As much as you may want to be confident, it can be difficult when you are nervous and uncomfortable. In any presentation it is important to always stay as calm as possible and focus on eye contact. By looking at the people, or person, you are talking to makes them feel you are having a conversation with them. This helps them stay attached to the presentation and helps you get more out of it. There is nothing worse than giving a speech to an uninterested audience. In most cases they are uninterested because the speaker has done a poor job engaging them. By looking at people in the eye when you talk they have a better chance of listening, and hopefully responding.
- It’s ok to say, “I don’t know” In any presentation there is an instinct to talk, even when you don’t have to. When speaking to a networking group or answering questions in a Q & A session it is ok to take your foot off the gas and say, “I don’t know”. It is never good to answer a question you don’t know with a long, rambling answer. The audience often sees right through it and you will instantly lose credibility. By acknowledging that you don’t have all the answers you can actually come out looking credible. There are times when you won’t have answer but that doesn’t mean you should make one up on the fly. It is ok to say, “I don’t know.”
Presenting and speaking in public doesn’t have to be something you avoid like the plague. If you are uncomfortable start out in small groups and work your way up from there. The more you do it the easier it will become.