Not all entrepreneurs are great at selling themselves, but letting the world know about your business – and what it can do – is crucial. Simon was one of a number of experts asked to provide his advice on how an introvert can shout effectively about their business!
Presentation coach Simon de Cintra, founder of My First Trainers, is a former American Express corporate who quit after 10 years to go to drama school and train as an actor. He agrees that practice is the best way to conquer your fears – and SME owners, he says, have an ace up their sleeve.
“When you go to drama school, the first thing they tell you to do is to stop acting,” he says. “Nobody wants to see people pretending, so you have to find the truth behind what your message is – and SME owners absolutely know the truth of their message.”
What they tend not to be so good at, though, is saying it out loud. De Cintra recommends doing this repeatedly in front of friends or family if you can; even doing it on your own is better than nothing. “Everything sounds brilliant in the comfort of your own head,” he says, “but what people judge you on when speaking is your delivery, particularly those first few minutes, so practise out loud and judge yourself on how committed you sound.”
Expert help can make a difference
Formal training, de Cintra says, can reap dividends – and even a little can go a long way. “Introverts often like process,” he says, “and what I like to explain is that speaking isn’t magic, it’s a process like everything else.”
If you have a presentation coming up, de Cintra says that it’s important to think about the audience before starting on your content. “The audience always changes, so it’s important to understand what they need to hear from you.”
Shola Kaye offers these additional tips for presenting:
- make sure you know what you’re going to say – don’t wing it. Write it all out and rehearse it
- write bullet points on a sheet of card, so you have something to come back to if you get a bit lost
- breathe deeply before starting and during the presentation
- remember the reason you’re there – if you come at it from the perspective that you’re offering a service, it becomes less about you and more about the benefit to those you’re speaking to
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