Presentation Skills Training: Building the "You/ Credibility" section of your Introduction.
It can be uncomfortable talking about yourself, right? While everyone has a friend who's favorite word is undoubtedly "I", for many of us that uncomfortable twinge in our stomachs presents itself when we need to tell a group, particularly a group of strangers, who we "are". It can be a bit awkward, and often our instinct can be to gloss over that discussion of ourselves.
However, when it comes to crafting a strong presentation introduction, your audience needs to know YOU. We've discussed attention grabbers in the past- that great moment where you tell everyone it's time to begin. But that's not all it takes to set your presentation on the right track. The "You/Credibility" component of your Introduction, where you share a bit about yourself with your audience, is a must to establish a strong audience connection.
A big part of the hangup about discussing ourselves can be the modesty factor. Our Director of Training, David Marcotte always likes to remind people that telling your audience who you are isn't about bragging- it's about letting them know who they are listening to and WHY they should listen to you. It's an opportunity to let your personal stamp shine, share a bit of pride in your expertise, and often incorporate humor.
My Grandfather used to love the Dizzy Dean quote, "If you can do it, it ain't bragging." How true! So here's three tips for sharing a bit about you and your experience in your Introduction that will make you appear credible, relatable, engaging, and knowledgeable, without a humblebrag in sight:
1. Pick some highlights: You don't need to recite your entire resume to your audience, or list every individual accolade or acknowledgment. What you can do is pick some career highlights (or some key experience with the topic you will be discussing) and shine a spotlight on that. Perhaps you've been working with the company for 20 years, or you hold a patent that is pertinent to your content, or you've won the Nobel Prize. Those are great pieces of information to share.
2. Just say it!: Underplaying the information can come off as flippant, overplaying can be a turn off. Just share the information: "My name is Marie Curie. A bit about me, I won the Nobel Prize in both Physics and Chemistry." That sounds far better than a dismissive "Yeah, I have two Nobel Prizes, whatever" or "Look, I'm a NOBEL PRIZE winner!!" Sharing things simply prevents any bragging edge.
3. Personal tid-bits are fun: While it's important to pick some work-related highlights that put your knowledge and credibility center stage, a personal bit about yourself introduces the man or woman behind the accolades. In my introduction, I usually share that although I now live in NYC, I grew up in the great state of New Jersey. Sharing a bit about how I'm not anything like the cast of Jersey Shore, or my secret love of big hair and Bruce Springsteen, or the fact that I grew up in a neighborhood where the old joke about "what exit?" didn't apply usually gets a laugh and starts forging a bond with my audience.
Even if you're presenting to an audience who knows you, you can always follow those three simple steps and toss in a bit of a You/Credibility statement during your presentation introduction. Perhaps you've spent weeks researching the topic you're going to share with them, or you've never told your group about your ritual of eating Belgian chocolate while you prepare your presentations. Whatever it is, toss it in. The better they know YOU, the more they'll want to know you're content.
How do you share a bit about you at the top of your presentation? Is there a certain story or fact you've had great success sharing? Remember to let us know in the comments below!