The right presentation can give your career a serious boost. It can make the right people notice you. It can cement your reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the workplace. The right presentation can remind people, who may previously have taken you for granted exactly how much you bring to the team. A great presentation can be extremely rewarding for your career,. At the same time, public can also be utterly terrifying. Speaking in front of groups of people who pay your salary can be daunting if you’re unaccustomed to public speaking. Unfortunately, letting your nervousness show in an important presentation can betray and undermine you. Follow this advice and you’ll be able to overcome your nerves and give a presentation for the ages.
Overcome your nerves
It doesn’t matter how well-researched, factually interesting, dazzling and impressive-looking your graphs are. The number of animated slide transitions your PowerPoint doesn’t matter. What matters most is that you don’t appear to be visibly nervous as this can undermine your presentation. Beating the nerves may be easier said than done, but here are a few tips to get you started…
- Turn the jitters into enthusiasm– Channel your nervous energy and turn it into passion. It’ll make your audience sit up and pay attention.
- Watch great orators- History is chock full of examples of great orators. Watch some of their most famous speeches on YouTube and see what you can learn. Watching Ted Talks or political addresses can give you an idea on how to project and modulate your voice.
- Stay still- Nervous speakers have a tendency to overcompensate and bound around the room in great strides. They think it makes them look confident and empowered, but often they’re telegraphing their discomfort. Harnessing the power of stillness can hold your audience’s attention and give you confidence to take ownership of the room.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Not only should you know your speech inside out, you need to have checked and double checked your facts using reliable sources. You should expect to be challenged and be prepared to counter any questions that may come at the end of the presentation.
Give your presentation bells and whistles, but don’t rely on them
PowerPoint graphics, music, video clips and other meeting room AV solutions are great, but they shouldn’t be doing all the heavy lifting for you. Audio visual bells and whistles of a presentation should supplement but not supplant the speaking element. Try to interact with these elements of the presentation, pausing, interjecting and physically interacting via pointers etc. to draw power away from them and towards you.
Brevity is everything
Nobody likes a rambler. Moreover, there’s no clearer sign of nervousness. Make your point and move on. Tautology, repeating yourself and making the same point in different ways (see what I did there?) can make your presentation feel padded out or (nightmare scenario) eat into your time so that your presentation is cut short.