Getting up in front of people can be scary, right? You’re putting yourself out there and saying, “hey, listen to me. Give me your time. I think what I’ve got to say is worth hearing”.

But what if my audience doesn’t agree? What if they judge my idea to be pointless? What if they don’t like me?

The first, and most important thing, to know is that your audience wants you to be brilliant. When have you ever been to a performance and willed it to be dull/cringeworthy/pointless? Never. You want to feel something; you want to be inspired, moved and entertained.

People want to hear you, and they want the best for you. We all know what it’s like to get up in front of people and speak, so we will always have some sympathy, and respect, for the person putting themselves up there.

Most people are nice! Remember this, always. The majority of the audience will be interested, friendly and on your side (even if they don’t look like it!).

And the rest? Well, it’s worth accepting that, actually, not everyone will like you. That’s life. How you handle that determines how much energy you will bother giving to worrying about it.

Think about the people you know. Maybe you work with them; you know them from your child’s school; they’re friends of your friends. I bet, within that group of people, there is someone you don’t like. And you can’t work out why. They’re perfectly pleasant, they’ve always been really nice to you and you’ve never heard on the grapevine of anything awful they’ve done.

But still. There’s just something about them you don’t like.  You can’t put your finger on it, but you don’t get them.

There is absolutely nothing they can do about this. They could donate all their money to the local donkey sanctuary, go out of their way to help a friend in a crisis, and spend their weekends knitting baby blankets for the local maternity ward. But still. You. Don’t. Get. Them.

They have no control over how you feel about them. And, likewise, you have no control over how other people feel about you.

Once you’ve accepted that, you can stop wasting your time worrying about it. You cannot make people like you, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t listen to what you’ve got to say. If your number one focus is trying to make people like you, you’ll miss the opportunity to use “you” in your presentation, and it’ll just become one more, run-of-the-mill, information sharing exercise.

Stop being a people pleaser.

I’m not saying you should go out of your way to alienate your audience. You definitely don’t want to start your talk with a badly pitched joke and turn half of them against you.

But what you need to do is focus on what they need to hear, and your role in making sure they hear it. Do we really need the audience to like us? In terms of confidence on the day, it may help us to feel warmth in the room and positive feelings coming from our audience. But is that what we’re there for?

No. We’re there to solve their problem. To give them a solution to a challenge that they’re facing. To show them how they can change something and make their life better. And people are often resistant to change, so they might be a little reluctant to open their minds up: you may have to shake them up a little.

You might have to take a risk that some people won’t like you, but this isn’t meant to be an ego trip anyway.

Generally speaking,  the more baseline confidence we have, the less we care about what people think about us. So, work on your presentation skills, feel good about getting up there and presenting, and reap the benefits.

My workshops will give you strategies for building your confidence as a speaker. We’ll work on every element of public speaking so that you feel comfortable and relaxed. You’ll learn how to put your audience at ease so that they’re ready to hear what you’ve got to say and will be open to making the changes you want them to make.

Get in touch to find out how you can take your presentation skills to new heights.