It is widely known that the thought of speaking in public fills most people with dread. 

Some experts say as many as three out of four of the population feels that way. Maybe you do, too.  

Most of us will experience some nervousness, a dry mouth or an increased heart rate when facing, or about to face, an audience. However, for some individuals, the fear of public speaking is so strong and persistent it becomes a phobia or anxiety disorder, called glossophobia.  

This can cause headaches, nausea and difficulty in breathing. It’s much more than a touch of nerves. 

The word master written in white on a blackboard

The good news is that public speaking is a skill. It is something you can learn, get better at with practice, and even master at an advanced level if you wish. 

Remember to use Story 

Any presentation, whether for business or other purposes, tells a story. It has a beginning, middle and an end. 

Planning what you want to say and giving it structure will help to focus on the message. It also encourages you to think about how you will set out, illustrate or demonstrate points to be made. 

When you see the best speakers and presenters, they speak with confidence, flow. and variety of pace and tone. They are as impressive as an actor on a Shakespearian stage. They hold our attention like the best Netflix thriller. 

Using story will help you to master the art of presentation. 

Practice Makes Perfect 

When you see top speakers, presenters or even stand-up comedians they make the art of presenting seem effortless. 

That’s not because they are brilliant at ‘winging it’. It’s because they practise. They master their craft. 

The presentation gets outlined, written and refined. It gets read over and over and over again. Like a lead singer in a band, the words become etched in their mind. 

That is what allows them to walk on stage, enter a meeting room or stand in front of a camera and deliver an experience that engages the audience and creates an emotional response. 

I’ll be sharing some tips on how to learn from the masters in a moment. But first, a reminder of how important visuals and slides can be to any presentation. 

Let PowerPoint Be Your Guide 

When planning a presentation, it’s a good idea to outline and structure your thoughts and ideas. 

You’ll probably have your own process for this. 

Two great ways to go are using sticky notes or mind mapping. Jot down points, messages, quotes, statistics and anything else you want to say. Then begin to rearrange it into a logical, story-based order. 

Use these key points and data to structure and organise your PowerPoint slides. The slides are always there to support what you say, not the other way around. They can be used to help the audience to pick up the most important messages. They are also a resource to help you remember what you want to say at any point during the presentation. 

PowerPoint displays the key points. The speaker delivers the detail. 

If creating strong presentations in the Microsoft application is not your strong point, you can learn all the essentials through my range of online courses on the subject. 

Ways to Learn from the Masters 

The simple maxim is ‘Watch and Learn’. 

Who are the great orators of history and today? Take a look at some of their speeches. On video, online or in print. 

What topics and themes interest you? Check out some talks on those subjects on TED and other channels. 

Who are your favourite actors or comedians? Go to the theatre or a stand-up gig and see how professionals master the audience and command the stage. Or check them out on YouTube. 

Watch business presentations or webinars. Make an extra note of how these are structured and delivered. Can you see how they work on the audience? Are you able to gauge how people are interacting and responding? 

With all the social media content out there, check out some Facebook Lives. Who is good on screen and delivering messages that resonate with their audience? Learning opportunities abound. 

Got the transcript of a great speech? Copy it. Write it out by hand. As you’re writing, get a feel for the words and experience them. It helps you to understand where the power of the oration comes from. 

What can you take from others and put into your talk or presentation? 

Trainers Can Teach a Thing or Two 

If you are a trainer or looking to create an online course for your business, take a leaf out of the book of a professional trainer.  

If you look at the pages for any of my courses, for example, you will see they include a course curriculum – a summary of the lessons and topics covered. That’s a good way to see how a course should be structured. I should know what I’m doing because I’ve been delivering Microsoft 365 and Office training for more than 20 years. 

What training courses have you been on or invested in? Which ones stood out? Why was that? 

The more you explore, question and seek the answers, the more you will learn about presentations. 

The more you learn and put into practice, the better you will get. 

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes