BOSSING It columnist Karren Brady is here to solve all your burning careers questions.
Today she helps out a woman unsure of how to deal with the pressure of hitting targets and gives her expertise on doing a presentation for the first time.
My boss has requested I do a presentation, and while I’m flattered to be asked, I’ve never done one before and I’m worried I’m going to make an idiot of myself in front of a lot of people.
Do you have any tips?
Helen, via email
First, your boss would not have asked you to do the presentation unless they felt you could, so you should feel really proud of yourself – they aren’t doubting you, so why should you doubt yourself?
When it comes to presentations, there are two things to focus on: the content and the delivery. In terms of content, be really clear what area you are covering (don’t be afraid to clarify this with your manager), then spend as much time as possible researching what you plan to talk about. Make your content interesting and visual – think about presentations you have been to and what you liked, what you didn’t like, and why. Don’t make slides and then simply read out what’s on them; they should be bullets points that you build around by speaking and engaging with your audience.
In terms of delivery, practise what you want to say – then practise some more – as this will make you less nervous. Make eye contact, show enthusiasm for the subject, and remember everyone wants you to do well, so take advantage of owning the room and sharing your ideas.
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I’ve recently returned to my job in a call centre after being signed off with stress for a month because I felt pressured to hit targets.
I’m worried all the problems that led to me being signed off are still there. My manager was lovely to me for the first few days after my return, but now seems to be on my case again. I need to work, but I don’t want to make myself ill. What do you advise?
Michelle, via email
Sales is a stressful occupation as you are always under pressure to hit targets. For some, the pressure can be motivational as it builds a competitive spirit and helps drive you, but for others it can prove debilitating. First, break down why you are missing your objectives.
Are you good at sales but the targets are unrealistic? Do you have enough training, or do you need more to reach your goals? If so, speak to your manager, as good employers want their staff to feel confident and motivated to succeed in their roles.
You also need to be honest with yourself. Is working in sales right for you? It’s not uncommon to feel stressed and frustrated when you’re in a job that isn’t a good fit for your skills. So make a plan.
Think about what you like doing and what you are good at, put together a brilliant CV, then start applying for positions elsewhere and look forward to new opportunities in a job you love, that you are good at and that is rewarding.
It’s time to think positively – you can either improve in the job you have or find one that you actually enjoy!
- Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email [email protected]
The Apprentice's Karren Brady gives career advice in game of Have You Ever?
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