Delivering a presentation can be a daunting task if you allow it to overwhelm you! If team meetings with colleagues can stress you out, one cannot imagine what ambiverts and introverts go through when faced with the challenge of giving a presentation in front of an audience-especially the boss.
The basic problem faced when delivering a presentation by most people, is fumbling through notes due to stage pressure. A presentation ceases to be effective, if read from a script, or if you are overly dependent on your notes. It is thus extremely important to prepare for a presentation, and even more so, to do it in the right way! Here are some helpful pointers we hope will help you prepare for your presentation:
PRACTICE IT, OUT LOUD.
We have been learning since school, that practice makes perfect. No files, task, or endeavor is such that cannot be practiced to perfection. This has been a tried and tested step by musicians, athletes, and orators across the world. A great example would be the late Steve Jobs, one of the most amazing presenters of our age, who believed in spending hours on a rehearsal of critical presentations. Practicing your presentation empowers you with increased confidence regarding your material, and reduces your reliance on your notes, making your presentation a more effective one.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION:
Where you practice your presentation is an important step to remember. If it is possible for you to get a dress rehearsal at the actual location beforehand, nothing like it. It will give you a feel of your real surroundings, acoustics, and the environment. Also, this can enable you to rehearse with the audio-visual you will be using at the location. Unfamiliar technology can make you stumble through your presentation. If practicing at the actual location isn’t possible, try practicing in a similar looking environment at best.
MOVEMENT AND POSTURE:
Try to maintain a friendly but authoritative posture for your audience. While the two poses seem completely opposite, it not too difficult to club them. You need to keep standing tall with an expanded chest to appear confident but lean towards the audience slightly, to make them feel involved. It is important to keep moving and use natural hand gestures and facial expressions so as to not appear stoic. Practice keeping eye contact with the audience rather than your visuals.
REHEARSE WITH A LIVE AUDIENCE/FRIENDS:
Practicing your presentation in front of a known person/colleague/friend DOES NOT make you juvenile. This is an important step as this person, who has your good interests at heart can give you effective feedback regarding your piece. You can slim it down if they feel it’s lengthy, explain any pointer in a different way in case they did not understand a thing in particular, and give you an idea of possible questions regarding your presentation, which prepares you for your Q&A round if you have one.
PRACTICE SMILING, AND START STRONG:
Building a rapport with your audience is a key step, and for that, you must make genial gestures. Make sure your presentation content focusses on the needs of the audience, related to your content and otherwise. Wish them, ask how their day has been, crack jokes. GET PERSONAL. Make the presentation about them, so that you captivate your audience. Ensure that you have a strong entry into your presentation with an interesting title. The first few minutes of your presentation itself can declare you as a hit or a bore, so begin your presentation with bucket loads of confidence and a winning smile.
REHEARSE WITH AND AMONG DISTRACTIONS:
During your presentation, you may get distracted by technical difficulties, or get nervous while looking at your audience. To overcome this, it is paramount to practice your piece when you are liable to get distracted anyway. This gives you good practice for the actual scenario, and your brain will be hardwired to refocus instead of getting carried away or getting nervous.
CURATE YOUR END ON A HIGH NOTE:
Remember, the last thing you say in your presentation will likely be the oft-most remembered thing about your presentation by your audience. Ensure that you plan a pause before your closing statement, and not rush through it. Practice enunciating your last few words with gusto, and in a good tempo. Make a show out of it! It will definitely be remembered.
Finally, make sure that you put in more time rehearsing than you did preparing the presentation. According to Forbes, the most successful presenters spend much more. While there is tons of great advice on how to prepare for a presentation, it is also extremely vital to do what you need to do in order to feel comfortable and confident, at the same time.