You’re about to give a presentation in 5 minutes and you’re feeling terribly nervous. You’re stomach’s fluttering, your heartbeat is racing, and your palms are sweating. Does this sound familiar? It’s completely normal to feel anxious before a public speaking engagement, even for veteran public speakers. However, you can leverage your nervous energy to deliver an energetic and enthusiastic speech that has people hanging onto your every word. The following are some tips to help you improve the delivery of your presentation.
If you don’t care about what you’re talking about, your audience probably won’t, either. Discover what you’re passionate about and then do thorough research around the subject. Use the information you find to create an engaging presentation. Keep your presentation short and impactful. Provide a takeaway by leaving your audience with something that increases the value of your presentation.
The secret to looking cool and confident when delivering a presentation is to spend hours in preparation and practice. You won’t be able to deliver an effective and memorable presentation if you’re just reading off of your notes or slides. You have to rehearse the presentation well enough that you’ll be able to focus your energy and attention on the audience.
Rehearse the presentation out loud in the way that you actually plan to deliver it, such as while standing, pacing, making gestures, etc. Practice in a location that’s as similar as possible to where you’ll be presenting. Rehearse it over and over until you feel comfortable.
Confident presenters come across as natural because they rehearse their presentation multiple times. This gives them a fresh take each time, so they can cut out unnecessary parts and adapt the presentation to match their mood.
As you rehearse, eliminate any parts of your presentation that are redundant or off point. Make your sentences as clear and simple as possible. Test out any technology that you’ll be using during the presentation, such as audiovisual equipment. The last thing you’d want is to have technological issues during the presentation because you’re using equipment you’re not familiar with. Be sure to dress comfortably, as well.
Positive self-talk before and during your presentation will improve your performance. Create positive affirmations and say them out loud confidently. The things you say to yourself will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Mental imagery doesn’t just impact what goes on in your head – it impacts you in every way, including physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Replace negative self-talk and imagery with images of yourself delivering a successful presentation in front of an enthusiastic audience.
People commonly react to pre-presentation anxiety by needing to go to the bathroom. Be sure to go to the bathroom prior to your speech to avoid the feeling of having “to go” while you’re giving your presentation.
Present an agenda to your audience so that they know what you’re going to talk about. In your speech, use the “fairy tale” model to build up the story until there’s no return. Build up resistance by describing the problem and then present the solution. Always end your speech with a call-to-action.
Make eye contact with different members of your audience while speaking. Divide your audience up into a grid with 9 parts and be sure to talk to each “grid” section. Have three postures that you’re comfortable with that you can use at different times throughout your presentation. Pick three to five different positions on stage and move between them throughout your speech. Pause frequently while making your speech to give your audience a chance to reflect on your words.
Smile to maintain a positive expression on your face before you start to speak. Smiling also relaxes you and emits endorphins that calm the nerves and promote a sense of wellbeing. Take a deep breath to ease your anxiety before a presentation. Anxiety can cause the muscles in your chest and throat to tighten. By breathing deeply, you can increase the amount of oxygen that flows into your brain and lungs.