How many times have you, or someone you know, talked about not wanting to speak in public?
Giving presentations in public can be a scary thing. In fact, it’s commonly referred to as glossophobia, the fear of public speaking. People experience anxiety prior to delivering their content, will attempt to avoid the event altogether, or incur feelings of physical distress or panic.
What can you do to forget the fear and deliver an excellent presentation?
Deliver a presentation.
Here are a few things that I think about through the preparation, delivery, and post-delivery process.
1. Positive Thought – the law of attraction tells us that positive thoughts manifest positive physical reality. THINK that you will deliver an excellent presentation…and you will.
2. Know Your Material – attempting to deliver content without background knowledge is very difficult. Put in the time to learn the material backwards and forwards.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice – After you’ve designed the deck, prep by delivering it mentally or in front of a mirror as many times as necessary for you to feel comfortable.
4. Progress, Not Perfection – You will make mistakes, in fact, I encourage it! How else are you going to learn? The first few times you are in front of an audience, you will make mistakes, accept it, learn, and move on to the next presentation.
5. Celebrate Success – In a world filled with so much negativity, we often forget to celebrate the small wins. After a great presentation, reward yourself with a small gift.
How do you structure a meaningful presentation?
1. Research the Audience – Who will attend? How many people? What do they want to hear? Gather a page or two of information on the organization/audience, paying specific attention to what you can do or say to help them make money, save money, or mitigate risk.
2. Decide on the Impact – What decision does the audience need to make? When you can find that answer, you’ll know how to structure the content to get the audience to leave wanting to take action.
3. Craft the Story – Start with an attention-getter, preferably a statistic or story that will increase the likelihood of pain and reduce the likelihood of pleasure if a decision isn’t made or increase the likelihood of pleasure and reduce the likelihood of pain if a decision is made. The presentation should end with a strong close that includes ideas to a solve problems.
4. Create the Slides – When creating slides, it is important to ensure that you appeal to auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners. Be sure to base your slides on real research, include video/role-playing/group exercises, don’t inundate with too much information, allow time for breaks, and prepare in advance for questions that may not be covered by your material.
5. Deliver! – As I mentioned above, practice, practice, practice. At the presentation, dress at the level or above the level of your audience, exude confidence, walk around the room and meet people before you begin, avoid handing out copies of your deck, and keep your notes close by. Knock their socks off!
Dale Carnegie once said, “There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.”
Delivering exceptional presentations takes practice and time. Seek progress in improving your skills, not perfection. With the right frame of mind, a strong work ethic, and a desire to change lives, you’ll be presenting in front of hundreds or thousands of people before you know it.