I know that there is a long standing joke that public speaking carries a bigger fear than death…..if you are going to a funeral you are better off in the casket than doing the eulogy!
Even for the most experienced public speaker I am sure there is always a degree of anxiety and for the novice there is isn’t a lot you can do to melt away your anxiety but the best start is simply to make a better presentation.
Becoming a competent, rather than just confident, speaker requires a lot of practice ad here are a few things you can consider to start sharpening your presentation skills:
Come Early, Really Early
Don’t fumble with PowerPoint or hooking up a projector when people are waiting for you to speak. Come early, scope out the room, run through your slideshow and make sure there won’t be any glitches. Preparation can do a lot to remove your speaking anxiety.
This is a slideshow rule offered by Guy Kawasaki. This rule states that a PowerPoint slide ideally should have no more than 10 slides, last no longer than 20 minutes and have no text less than 30 point font. Even if your idea will revolutionise the world it is important that you need to spell out the important nuggets in a few minutes, a couple slides and a several words a slide. I am sure we can all recall siting through or surviving through presentations or suffered from death by PowerPoint
Please don’t try and act like Peter Kay or Michael McIntyre or try to be the circus act when giving a serious presentation but unlike an e-mail or article, people do expect some appeal to their emotions. Simply reciting dry facts without any passion or humour will make people far less likely to pay attention.
Nervous and inexperienced speakers tend to talk way to fast….consciously slow your speech down and add pauses for emphasis.
Don’t Read from the slides
This one is a no brainer, but somehow PowerPoint makes people think they can get away with it. If you don’t know your speech without cues, that doesn’t just make you more distracting. It shows you don’t really understand your message, a huge blow to any confidence the audience has in you.
Speeches are About Stories
If your presentation is going to be a longer one, explain your points through short stories, quips and anecdotes as great speakers know how to use a story to create an emotional connection between ideas for the audience.
Project Your Voice
Nothing is worse than a speaker you can’t hear. Even in the high-tech world of microphones and amplifiers, you need to be heard.
Put Yourself in the Audience
When writing a speech, see it from the audiences perspective. What might they not understand? What might seem boring? Use WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) to guide you.
Have Fun – Sounds impossible?
With a little practice you can inject your passion for a subject into your presentations. Enthusiasm is contagious.
What tips do you have for making killer presentations?