Over the next couple of months we will be running a series every week on ‘Great Presenters’. What makes a great presenter? How can you become a great presenter? These questions and more will be answered every week by a new person. The series will offer a broad perspective on presentations from people who either do presentations for a living, have been trained in doing presentations or do presentations regularly at work.
This week’s blog post features our own lead trainer Alan Donegan. Alan has had an amazing couple of years setting up his own training company, and now does presentations for a living. But the sky was not always a perfect blue, so Alan has had to work hard to reach his level of presentation skills. Here’s your chance to learn from his experience:
Alan Donegan – On Great Presenters
Name: Alan Donegan
Position: Lead Trainer
Company: Enjoy Presenting
Tel: +44 (0) 788 181 5954
Were you born a great speaker or did you learn?
You aren’t born funny, you aren’t’ born with charisma you aren’t born a presenter. You don’t pop out of the womb into the midwives arms saying “Ladies, gentlemen and NHS professionals, today I want to talk to you about the three most important areas of life …” NO!! It’s all developed or trained.
When did you first start to learn about presenting? What prompted you to start learning?
I decided I wanted to be a trainer and went on a course by Richard Bandler called Charisma Enhancement in Florida and it opened my eyes to a whole world of presenting that I had no idea about.
I realised this was a skill I needed to master and have been investing in it ever since. Three years in Toastmasters, countless books and many courses later I am starting to really enjoy it!
What do you use your presenting and speaking skills for?
My entire business is based on presenting and speaking. I sell my training courses to business and then I sell my ideas on the training course. Everything I do is based on presentations and speaking to people.
What are the benefits of learning to speak? What have you got out of being better at speaking?
The benefits are incredible. To give you a short list:
- Confidence – this alone has changed my world
- Ability to help others – through my speaking I have had a profound effect on others’ lives
- Ability to make money – this has transformed my businesses performance
- Buzz – there is nothing like the feeling of making an audience laugh
Has there been one stand out moment in your speaking career?
There have been a few. Speaking to over 100,000 people in a day for Andrex at the Bull Ring in Birmingham was an incredible experience. Getting to the UK & Ireland final of the Humorous speech final in 2008 and competing in front of 450 speakers was nerve-wracking. My first time doing stand-up comedy put me completely outside my comfort zone!
Have you always enjoyed presenting?
Not always, no, I was painfully shy when I was young not wanting to speak to anyone other than my family. Nerves and a lack of confidence use to plague my life and I was particularly nervous when presenting
How did you overcome your nerves if you ever had any?
It has taken years of gradual building of confidence and self-esteem. I knew I had a lack of confidence and I knew where it came from (school bullies) and so I went out and looked for ways to build it.
I don’t think you ever fully overcome your nerves as I still feel them now. I would not want to overcome them. If I didn’t feel anything then I would not be caring enough about the outcome for the audience.
The key is to use the nervous energy to make your presentation even better and to connect at a deeper level with the audience.