Nervous? You Are Not Alone. Presentation tips from the Pros

by Sandra Schrift

Have you ever been asked to do a presentation for a large group of people you have never met?

Does this make you nervous? Well, you are not alone. Practically everybody, from executives to entry-level employees has the butterflies in their stomach over it. Here are some tips on making a presentation from the members of the National speakers Association.

  1. Accept the fear and make it work for you. Most people cannot see your nervousness, so don’t even mention that you are. Use this adrenaline rush of nervous energy by turning it into lots of enthusiasm in your delivery.
  2. Arrive early to your speech location. Do this so that you can check out the microphone, overhead projector or any other technical equipment you will be using. Get familiar with the room. This will put you more at ease before you begin your speech.
  3. Do some deep breathing exercises – most professional speakers do this before their presentations. Shake your hands, do some movement exercise . . .just loosen up.
  4. Speak on what you are passionate about and others need to hear. A passion for your subject will help to dissipate your nerves. “The audience will sense your passion and focus on your message – not your mistakes.
  5. Speak, speak, speak. Speak often. Kill those nerves with lots of speaking experiences. The more you speak the more comfortable you will be with your audiences. It’s like going for the “gold.” Practice, practice, practice!
  6. Know your topic and material. When you really know your stuff, your nerves will lessen. Do not memorize your speech. If you forget a portion, then you increase your stage fright. Just be familiar with your material and have a conversation with your audience.
  7. Mingle with the audience before your speech. It’s helpful to meet and greet people as they come into the room. Then you will have made some new “friends” and be more comfortable with the people in the room.
  8. Know your audience. Do your homework which includes research on the organization hosting your speech. Understand the challenges your audience faces and hit their hot buttons. You don’t want to make remarks that are not sensitive to your particular audience.
  9. Focus on your audience. It is not about you. It is about them. Remember, you are the expert on your topic and have valuable material to share. Be there to help them understand your message and impact their lives in some way.
  10. Prepare and rehearse. The more you practice, the better you will do. Practice for friends, in front of your mirror, for your colleagues. Talk your speech out loud while taking a walk. Remember to use your hand gestures and use facial expressions while you rehearse.

© 2010 Sandra Schrift – www.schrift.com

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