This blog post is part of the Next Top Credit Union Executive competition originally posted October 24, 2014.

You are ready!  Time to step more into your success as a Top Five!

You are a few days away from the moment you walk on stage to present to some of the finest leaders in the industry.  I can only imagine your excitement, and perhaps a little bit of stage anxiety.  This anxiety is so natural!!  Of course, hearing that doesn’t make it any easier. Great leaders live in the midst of tension . . . and they keep showing up and moving forward.

Here are a few inside tips I’ve picked up over the past competitions and years of presenting.

  • You are unique and have a responsibility to be the best you can in those few minutes on stage! The audience appreciates your leadership skills, expertise, and presence.  Start with that thought as you move into the final days of preparation.
  • You are exceptional! Every year several CEOs share their admiration and respect for the Top Five.  I often hear how hard the choice was for people to vote.  Think about it, at least 90% of them have never been on stage in front of a similar audience.  They are there to learn and take back the story of your success as a Top Five.
  • Stay focused and present in a logical framework.  Be sure the structure of your presentation is in an easy to follow.  Record yourself and listen to where rambling distracts the audience.
  • Facts tell, stories sell. Data is great AND you need the compelling narrative, too!  The average listener remembers the story more than the actual data. Stories create an emotional connection and enhance the listeners’ capacity to deepen their attention to what you say and what you mean. Your listeners want to see metrics AND  feel your passion.  Another example of living in the tension.
  • Your authenticity will win over the voters! Share your emotional connection and passion need to be front and center, backed by focus and facts.
  • Present from the audience perspective.  What do they want to hear?  Who are they?  What is the take away?
  • Your media is an enhancement, not the main performer in the presentation. You want the audience to remember you, not just a slide deck.Expert Tip: Practice your presentation without the slide deck, at least twice; to be sure you embody the key points and meanings.
  • Remember your purpose. Why you are doing this? Keep this the center of your commitment, practice, and self-accountability for your own version of success.

Each leader has multiple defining moments that shape who they are today and who they are becoming.  This is one of those moments for you.  Be clear what you want on the other side of the moment.

Final Preparation Advice:

  1. Practice at least twice before others.
  2. Practice before your executives and CEO because they represent the audience.
  3. Ask for generative feedback, what works? What is too much and too little?
  4. Arrive at the conference, rested.

Now you are ready!  Have fun and enjoy the moment! Best of Luck!

Deedee Myers

P.S.  Check out last years’ blog for more readiness tips:
Sharing your message on stage
A Judge’s Perspective