Ever been asked to make a presentation? Were your palms wet? Did your knees tremble? Did your stomach start doing somersaults?
Is this how the prospect of making an important presentation affects you? Well, join the club because, for most people, their biggest fear is public speaking or presenting.
If you are shortly going to make an all important presentation and are gripped by FEAR at the very thought of it, reach out and grasp these 7 lifelines to help you overcome your terror and make it a huge success.
Lifeline no. 1
Know your audience! Who are they, why are they listening to you, what do they already know, what do they want from you?
Finding out about your audience means that you can tailor your message to their needs and in a way that appeals to them.
Lifeline no. 2
What is the purpose of your presentation? What outcome do you want? Is it to sell, persuade, influence, inform, educate or inspire?
Create clarity about the reason for the presentation and work back from that. Once you know exactly what result you want you can begin to structure the content so that your goal is achieved.
Lifeline no. 3
Write your script. Just write down anything and everything that is important and relevant to the message you want to get across. Empty your mind on paper.
Now edit your script, highlight key words and phrases, select the right order for the points you want to make. Remember that you have written your script but you will deliver it verbally. Re-write your message so that it comes across well when spoken.
Lifeline no. 4
Create a good structure with a beginning, middle and end that flow logically and easily. Open with impact, grab their attention and build rapport. Ask a thought provoking question, make a bold statement, stir their interest.
Signpost each point towards the next so that you take your audience on a journey. Support each main point with sub points that are easy to follow.
At the end, summarise your key message, wind it down naturally, end on a note of importance that the audience will remember and thank them for their attention.
Lifeline no. 5
Perfect your delivery. Use tone of voice to maintain interest, and bring life into your message. Use short silences to add intrigue and arouse curiosity. Avoid monotone and use your voice harmoniously.
Build rapport and maintain eye contact with your audience, working slowly and subtly around the room, looking at small groups of 3 or 4 people at a time. Be careful of your body language and gestures, avoid fidgeting and pacing. It’s okay to move but don’t become a pacing tiger or a windmill!
Lifeline no. 6
Being nervous before a presentation is perfectly normal. Nerves help you to perform well and get adrenaline running around your body. Overcome excessive nervousness by taking deep breaths.
Stand tall and be proud of who you are and what you are about to do. Create a vision of making the perfect presentation and turn your fear into stimulation.
Lifeline no. 7
Remember the 5 Ps – Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance! Prepare well and practice, Deliver your presentation over and over again to your family, your friends, to yourself (in the mirror). Time it, perfect it, tweak it, know it well and feel confident about your ability to deliver it.
Now visualise yourself making the perfect presentation, with an engaged audience who hang onto your every word.
Picture yourself in the situation, calm, capable, convincing and presenting like you were born to do it!
Play this scene again and again in your mind and notice how your fear subsides and your confidence soars.
Go out there and make a wonderful presentation!