Batter Bat BallMaybe it’s the fact that the temperature will rise above freezing today, or maybe it’s because we just turned the clocks ahead, but whatever the reason, I’ve got spring training on my mind. It’s the time of year when we New Englanders renew our Red Sox Nation membership cards. And that’s why this post is based on a baseball metaphor.

Here’s how to hit a home run the next time you step up to the plate:

Resolve to ‘hit it out of the park:’ You have to walk onto the stage or up to the podium believing you will succeed. As you may have read in a previous post, I talked about how most speakers begin with some sort of self-limiting thought such as, “Please just let me get through this” instead of “I’ve got this!”

Whether you give the same talk each time (such as new employee orientation) or deliver a variety of presentations, you would do well to avoid minimizing your role or the importance of your message. While most of us will never be called upon to deliver a speech like Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” on race in America, a speech that brought out the best in him and in us, we are still standing in front of an audience who has given us their time and attention, and they deserve no less than our personal best.

Be inspired so that you can inspire: Even if your boss has asked you to present on the Role of Optics in Reducing Error Rates in the ER, it is your job to fill your listeners with both information and inspiration. You have to be up there anyway, so why not make it memorable? A good definition of the word inspiration is “stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity.” That takes some prep work to get right. And of course, this allows me to share one of my favorite quotes:

Churchill Quote

Treat each presentation or speech like it was the most important one: The bread and butter of public speaking are: appealing to your particular audience, and structuring an attention-getting presentation. If you fail to factor in time to research your audience and what they might want to get out of your presentation, or you slap a few key ideas together and call it day, you could end up swinging at a wild pitch (I promise, that’s the last baseball metaphor today).

Helpful tip: These two activities alone – audience analysis and effective structure – can actually make the delivery of your presentation less stressful because the clarity and relevance of your message, combined with your command of the overall structure and flow, will help you feel more confident and in control.

So let’s transition into a new season with a fresh outlook and a clear intention to win.

– Barbara

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