A fear of public speaking is incredibly common and a phobia shared by most of us. It stems from a fear of being judged and having 100 percent attention being placed on you while you are speaking. You feel nervous, your palms sweat and your stomach ties itself into knots. You don’t want to do it. However, as part of our professional lives, it is likely that all of us will one day be required to give a formal presentation to an audience. But don’t fear. Even though public speaking may not be your strength, you can still find success with your presentation.
Several factors help determine the success of a presentation, no matter what the topic. To most, they are extremely obvious, but often completely overlooked. What makes a presentation great, instead of average (or sometimes even painful), are the details that we often take for granted. A recent article by Walkerstone highlights – in infographic form – what to do (and not do) in a presentation. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while preparing for your next presentation.
Do make eye contact with your audience. Keep your eyes off your notes or the presentation screen. Engage with your audience. They are in attendance to hear what you have to say.
Don’t read presentation slides verbatim. They should only be used as a guideline for the information you intend to impart to the audience. In addition, it is important to keep your slides simple. Too many graphics and long phrases on the slides make it difficult to keep your audience’s attention.
Do practice, practice, practice! The more you review your presentation, the more comfortable it will feel and this will improve your ability to articulate your message and connect with the audience.
Don’t memorize your presentation. While you may think that the best way to prepare for a speech or presentation is to memorize it word for word, this can be extremely unreliable. Surprisingly, when someone memorizes a speech or presentation, they often forget the entire speech the minute they stand behind the podium!
Do get your audience involved. At the end of the presentation, make sure to leave time for questions from the audience. This is yet another time to share your expertise with the audience members.
Finally, take a few moments to relax and mentally prepare yourself for the presentation you are about to give. Quickly review your notes and go over areas where you feel you need to be clearer. By following these simple tips, you will find the presentation process to be more enjoyable and your audience will ultimately benefit. Need help with an upcoming presentation? Contact AOE today. We are here to help!