Do you get nervous when asked to prepare a presentation?
Do you get nervous when asked to prepare a presentation? Can I share a secret? I love public speaking, but I get nervous every time I present.
However, I push through and remember the three pillars of public speaking.
1. Connect with your audience
Build a connection with your audience by catering your message to them. What do want/hope to learn from your presentation? What do want the audience to learn? Once you have those questions answer research the subject you are speaking about. Make yourself the Subject Matter Expert (SME) on the topic to keep your audience engaged during the presentation. But, if a question arises and you don’t know the answer, be honest. Nothing turns a crowd off more than the presenter fumbling to find an answer he/she doesn’t need to answer in the first place. Encourage the audience to continue learning after your presentation.
2. Presentation Materials are ‘Extra’
That’s right materials are just that, materials. Your PowerPoint slides, hand-outs, etc., enhance your speech, they do not anchor the presentation. Do not bore an audience and damage your connection by turning your back and staring at your slides or hand-outs. Use an Iconograph, chart, or some type of visual but please don’t put the entire presentation in bullets and then read said bullets. Again, when you use your materials as a crutch you show a lack in understanding the material. Nerves are common, that’s why you need to practice.
3. Silence is Good
Take an intentional pause. Make sure the audience is keeping pace with your speech/presentation. Breaking the conversation allows your audience to interpret what you are saying and develop insightful questions for the end of the presentation. Pausing for silence is better than throwing in the dreaded ‘um, and, like, uh.’
Remember the three pillars of public speaking the next time you prepare for a presentation. Every ‘natural’ public speaker rehearses before he/she takes to the stage!
Until next Tuesday…
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