I not only help run networking events but I also attend lots, I’m always ready and willing to be able to give a speech on just about anything concerning my area of expertise, it’s just one of the things I find easy. However I have watch numerous people almost recoil in horror when asked if they would like to speak about their business in public. When asked what people fear most, public speaking usually tops the list or is pretty close to the top. So, if nothing else, at least you know that you are not alone and that the vast majority of people feel the same. Knowing that you’re normal and that the vast majority of people fear public speaking you can begin to question how so many business people you know seem to manage and give perfectly acceptable speeches. The answer of course is proper planning, preparation and practicing, so let’s give you a few tips
I Used to Hate Giving Presentations Until I Learned
Understand Your Topic
When selecting a topic to talk about with your audience, it’s important to actually learn the topic inside and out. This is especially true if you plan to do a questions and answer session after the presentation. The more knowledgeable you are, the easier it will be to give a presentation that is informative and achieves your goals.
Know Your Purpose
It might seem obvious what the purpose of the presentation is given the topic, but it’s not always clear. If your goal is to get more followers, friends, likes, and email list subscribers, that is different than if your goal is to teach a one off class, so ask yourself why you are giving this presentation and what do you want to achieve by doing so.
Research Your Audience
You can have a basic speech prepared on your topic, but it’s important that you change it up for each audience that you present it to. Every audience, even within the same niche, has its own make up and education in your topic that needs to be considered each time you present. For instance there is no point giving a highly technical presentation about your topic if those listening only have a very basic understanding, so fit your presentation to the needs of your audience.
Create Interesting Visuals
I have to be honest and say that I hate PowerPoint presentations, but that’s because most people like to fill slides up with way too many words, which simply allows people to read the slides and not listen to you. Consider instead being more creative with your visuals and go for the less is more motto.
Don’t Memorize It
Write down any specific figures and quotes so that you don’t have to rely on your memory, because if it’s like mine it stinks. However, the rest of your presentation should be done naturally with the information you’ve studied and learned and given in your own words.
Silence Is Golden
Many people get out of breath during presentations because their rate of speech increases and the presenter forgets to take a breath. When you realize as a speaker that silence and pauses are okay, then the presentation will become more doable and even relaxing and enjoyable.
Small Talk Is Necessary
Even if you’re talking to a room of 1000, the ability to engage in small talk with your audience will not only calm your fears, but it will also build important rapport with them as well as trust for further business together.
Practice, Practice, Practice
This last point cannot be emphasized enough, but the truth is, practice is your best defense against nerves. You don’t necessarily have to practice the same presentation over and over to become good at presenting. Just getting in front of people more often and that act, will make you more comfortable in general. Consider joining toastmasters or another group that requires you to present on occasion and get out of your comfort zone.
Oh, did I say that I love giving presentations and let me share how I prepare, simply by writing at least one blog article everyday means that my topic knowledge is always expanding as I research things, study and write. Whenever I want to give a presentation, I sit down and write a full speech out, detailing all the things I want to talk about, I read this a couple of times to ensure I understand what I am trying to achieve and how I want to do this. When giving the presentation, I don’t use this written speech at all, and I might even give a completely different speech based upon the audience I find and the mood they are in, you see by really understanding your topic and by preparing properly, it all becomes fun and you are able to switch in different topics, sub-topics and speeches to suit your needs.
Even if you hate giving presentations, you can still host events, for example I’m involved in the Swan Chamber of Commerce (amongst others) and if you host a sundowner you’ll find that somebody like me, will come along and be the MC for the event and all you need to is prepare a short speech. This takes the pressure away from you, allows you to gain all of the benefits of hosting an event and speaking with none of the concerns. Just remember there are many ways around the fear and honestly, once you do a few presentations you’ll be more relaxed about them.