Public speaking isn’t always about a stage, a large audience, a stage crew and bright lights. It can be much simpler. Such as team meetings, networking events or even an interview. But even so, the fundamentals are the same and you need to know how to prepare for a presentation of any kind. It’s all about providing a clear message so your audience can understand and engage.
In this article, I’m going to give you 4 tips on overcoming the fear of public speaking. As well as discussing what you can do to help keep control.
How to Prepare for a Presentation – 101
Know your stuff
You need to know your material inside and out. Stepping up to talk and being unsure about what it is you’re supposed to talk about will cause fear and anxiety.
Be sure you know your topic well enough to speak with knowledge and passion. If you don’t then you need to be doing some serious homework. Preparation is key when it comes to confidence.
For generations, people have been telling stories. Even as far back as the days of the cavemen and their paintings. Stories are how we communicate, get attention, build intrigue and gain trust. If your audience can relate to your stories then they can relate to you.
It’s the reason an audience hangs on every word of a great comedian. The reason big brands sell their story. The reason you should use stories when presenting. Don’t drone on about the facts and figures. Tell stories about individuals and real things which have happened.
Practice like this to make it perfect
Write out your content in full and practice reading it many times. Another tip is to record yourself reading it so you can listen back as you read. You can also listen while driving, working or on a walk.
Once you know your material inside and out, add bullet points at the top of each section. Make sure they contain very little fluff. Allowing only for keywords which will prompt you into remembering each section.
Next, practice using only the bullet points. Until you can recite the whole presentation using only the prompts. It may seem hard at first and you may need to refer to the original material. But in time, it will begin to sink in. Once you have it down you’ll be able to look up and engage with your audience more often. You’ll have a natural flow and more confidence. Plus, your notes will be more concise and easier to manage on the day.
Plan the day
Make sure to familiarise yourself with the venue, the room where you will be speaking and the stage. Go to the bathroom and don’t drink too much within half an hour of your presentation. Take water to sip when needed. Be mindful if you’re a little nervous as drinking can often show shaky hands. 5 minutes before the event, have some time alone. Take deep breaths to slow down your heart rate, relax and tell yourself you got this. Then go out there and enjoy it.
The tips discussed in this article revolve around preparation. Make sure you know your stuff and you have engaging stories ready to go. You must put in the work when it comes to practice and you will set yourself up for success on the day.
Fear of the unknown can be a major contributor to anxiety when public speaking. These tips on how to prepare for a presentation will go a long way to alleviating that fear.
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