Tor Hvas has been Slideshop’s president since January of 2016. A graduate of Copenhagen Business School, Tor has worked with many companies in a variety of industries, and with prominent brands like Google Nordics, eBay Classifieds and Save the Children. Most recently, he was a partner at Lifted, a Danish management consulting company specializing in digital media and business strategies.
This week, we asked Tor to share some of his thoughts and experiences as a successful presenter. Read on to learn how public speaking has advanced his career goals – and how it could do the same for you.
1. How can a presenter overcome fear of public speaking?
I control my public speaking fears by converting negative tension into excitement and energy. When I was a young boy, I had an exceptional personal trainer. He always made me repeat a sentence to myself before going into an important game: I can, I dare, I will. Trust me – if you repeat that sentence twenty times before going on stage, you’re going to feel more positive energy, and you’re going to feel far less fearful.
2. Who’s your favorite public speaker, and why?
Elon Musk and Steve Jobs are two people I look up to. Their obvious personal investment in whatever they speak about makes extremely interesting to listen to. Their authenticity strikes me; witnessing their passion motivates me to be a better business leader myself. And I love the way they speak with courage and conviction during speeches or interviews.
3. Would you describe a presentation that didn’t go as expected, and what you learned from the experience?
I wanted to show a class how to set up a marketing campaign on Google. In was preparing for the presentation, I carefully included step-by-step screenshots. I expected they would be quite helpful and informative. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. I realized the class needed a more hands-on approach. I could have made the whole thing more effective, for example, by finding a way to get them to use their own mobile phones during the presentation, to understand my topic better.
4. What was your most embarrassing moment as a public speaker, and what did you learn from it?
One time in business school, I had to introduce myself in front of the entire class. I knew this was coming, and had plenty of time to prepare. I could say I was mentally ready for the challenge. But I think I overdid it with my “I can, I dare, I will” mantra before stepping into the spotlight. I was so fired up I didn’t take care to look where I was going, and fell right off the stage onto a technical cable box! That was an embarrassing experience, but it taught me a simple, face-saving lesson: watch your step.
5. How have public speaking opportunities expanded your network?
I’ve come to really enjoy participating in and hosting meetups. If you’re not familiar with them, try looking up meetups.com; I’m sure you’ll find interesting local events in your neighborhood. Pick some, and go! You’re sure to make some valuable connections.
When you host a meetup, you’re in a particularly excellent position to build great relationships and expand your professional network. I’m happy to have met many talented people at these gatherings. In fact, I was privileged to found a new company with someone I met at a meetup.
Say hi to Tor in the comments below, and share your own tips and experiences!