How to be a smooth presenter, for those who are nervous
A lot of people have great communication skills, but when it comes to speaking in front of large crowds, they have panic attacks. They have chills running down their spines and have sweaty palms. If you fall into this category of people, you don’t have to worry as you’re not alone. We all have stage fright, because we are afraid of making a mistake in front of people. We are afraid of embarrassing ourselves. So, what can you do to overcome stage fright and give an impactful presentation that will impress your audience instantly? Here are some tips that will help you get going.
Prepare your content in advance
First and foremost, prepare your content and speech in advance, preferably one week in advance. Go through your content again and again, until you are familiar with the areas that you will be covering. Often, people get stage fright because they are not confident about the subject matter they are presenting. Always make it a point to write your own content. If you have an agency who is preparing the slides for you, make sure the content makes sense. Else, tweak it so that you are comfortable with what’s written on the slides. Never give a presentation on areas you are unsure of or unfamiliar with.
Rehearse and time yourself
As the saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’, rehearse several times in front of the mirror until you are comfortable speaking about the subject matter. Then, get a group of friends and family members to gather around and present in front of them. Always keep a timer next to you so that you know if you are exceeding the allotted time or if you are going too fast. Once you rehearse in front of your kith and kin, get their feedback to see where you are going wrong. Are you speaking too fast? Are people able to understand you? Is there sufficient eye contact? Get feedback on these issues so that you can improve upon them.
Think about possible questions
The audience generally has questions after a presentation. So, to prepare for such situations, think about all the possible questions that the audience can ask you on your presentation. Come up with possible questions and write down your answers, so that you don’t get thrown off-track when faced with such a scenario on the day of your presentation.
Rest well before your presentation
Many people make the mistake of burning the midnight oil by going through their presentation at the last minute. Ensure that you have at least eight hours of sleep, the night before your presentation. You need to stay alert and be fresh on the day of your presentation. No one likes to listen to a presenter who is half asleep and tired.
Add some light humor
On the day of the presentation, take a look at your audience. Are there mostly young people in the crowd? Are there mostly women or is it a good mixture of men and women? Based on the demographics of your audience, come up with some jokes that will lighten the mood. If you know the demographics of your audience before the presentation itself, it will give you more time to think about ways to liven the atmosphere. Add appropriate humor so that the audience enjoys themselves and your presentation.
Throw your fear out of the window before stepping on the stage. Have eye contact with your audience, be confident and impress your audience with an immaculate speech.