Everyone who was or is in school and had to do some sort of presentation, knows how frightening it can be to stand in front of a group of people and talk.
Here are some tips on a good presentation and becoming more confident in such a situation.
The key element for a good presentation is: preparation.
You may, if you will, take some helping flashcards with you on stage, but don’t write your entire presentation on them. This will only confuse you and you will get stuck and panic when you don’t follow the sentences.
So: Use key-words, plan your cards in an organized way and prevent lots of words. Here, the key is simplicity.
Make yourself feel comfortable on stage
For the audience members it can get very annoying when the lecturer is nervous.
Signs of nervousness: Standing as stiff as a board, pulling on your clothes, waving around nervously with your arms…
try to become acquainted and aware of your surroundings.
For some it may seem to be hard to get aware, but really, take a deep breath, see yourself on the stage, imagine as if all that was around you was familiar and nothing special.
And that my dear can be a real challenge, give yourself a pad on the shoulder if you succeed in becoming comfortable on stage. Because that, is the major part of presenting anything.
The next step to consider is the way you want to approach the audience, whether it’s a small, large, young, or old audience.
You should think about how exactly you want your presentation to reach the targeted audience. Whether it’s for a job, a presentation at an elementary school or a talk at a college, it’s always going to be different. It does not have to differ from the content but from the way you deliver it.
When you look at some of the best talks or lecturers, and then at their audience, you see how thrilled and tied they are to the presenter and what he or she is saying.
Make sure to pick out the most important and most interesting bullet points/facts from your presentation. That is one essential fact to take into consideration.
Connect with the audience.
Ignoring the audience or pretending to be all alone in one big room may seem a little odd. Prevent from looking over the people, instead make eye-contact, make it seem as if you were directly talking to them, like in a conversation. This will make your appearance more attractive and connectable.
Practice makes perfect.
Before the actual talk takes place, try practicing in front of a mirror, some friends, or a smaller group of people. Seeing yourself might improve and boost your confidence and you might notice somethings you want to ameliorate or change on your gestures, posture, or way of speaking.
In case of a black out…
Black outs may occur and if they do, don’t worry.
As I have already mentioned above, flashcards are a good way to keep track of what you want to say and in what order. They may also come in handy if you like to tell stories and tend to let your mind wander. However, in case of a black out, try to hide it as best as you can. It doesn’t look professional if the lecturer forgets his contents. Try to orientate yourself on the cards you prepared or what I like to do, improvise. Which brings me to my next point.
Improvisation should not be a consistent part of a presentation, it is better to be prepared. But even extemporization shall be learned. Of course, one cannot simply start blobbing about any random topic, but what is meant by improvising is talking about the same topic.
Should you really forget where you left off, just talk about something related to that topic, a personal experience of that topic, or throw in a reference. The worst thing that can happen is that you forget everything from that one slide/flashcard, so just skip unnoticeable to the next one.
Last but definitely not least.
Believe in yourself.
You can do it, you are well prepared and this is your chance to show your audience what you know and can do. Remember, sometimes less can be more and keep it simple and spicy.
Good luck for your next presentation!