It’s undeniable – people are afraid of speaking in public. While it can be scary to talk about an important subject in front of people you don’t know, it is possible to deal with this through mental hacks and a ton of preparation.
Peter Benedict St Andrews was once like you, but now he has made a business out of giving presentations to movers and shakers week after week. Want to do what he does? Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way:
1) Be an expert
Want to be seen as a credible speaker? If so, it is pertinent to know everything about your subject. Take all the time you need to learn about your topic so you can effectively connect with and inform your audience.
Through this process, you’ll come across concepts that will confuse you. Finding these deficits will allow you to fill knowledge gaps so you won’t be startled when you get asked a tough question.
Try to think about what your attendees will ask in advance so you will know how to respond when they lob an ‘unexpected query’ at you.
2) Include pictures
Your talk will focus mostly on what you say, but adding pics and diagrams can give these points an added kick that can make them much better. Images add life to a lecture that might come across as boring to some people.
Quite a few people out there are visual learners. For them, adding illustrations to a presentation is vital, as it is difficult for them to grasp what you are saying without these aids being present.
3) Practice, practice, and practice some more
Some folks like shooting from the hip, but even they could benefit from practice. All the best performers out there do it – even the ones who are good at improvising on the fly.
Going over what you are going to say means there will be fewer crutch words that you will unconsciously insert in your delivery as you go (like ‘ahhs’ and “umms”). These are hugely distracting to many people, and at best, it will mess with the flow of your talk.
Don’t memorize a talk word-for-word either. Getting a 15 minute presentation exactly right is insanely hard, and even if you nail it, your vocal delivery will come off sounding wooden and lifeless.
Practice also allows you to pick up on unhelpful body language of which you may not be aware. Friends can point them out to you so you can stamp these habits out before you go out in front of important people.
4) Look amazing
In life, the clothes make the person. You will be the focus in the next 15 minutes of someone’s life, so be sure to dress in a way that makes them remember you.
Giving a presentation at an investment bank? Donning a well-tailored suit will help hammer home the points you are looking to make.
On the other hand, if you wear a suit that is baggy and cheap, your points, no matter how good they are, may fall on deaf ears.