Public Speaking 101: A guide to acing your next presentation
Picture this: you’ve spent all night preparing for a presentation, going over each line meticulously. However, that dreadful day rears its ugly head, as you are left tongue-tied while presenting to your peers. Nerves are a natural part of presenting, and many are guilty of letting it get the best of them. For anyone whose stomach turns when hearing the words “public speaking,” I present to you, “Public Speaking 101 with Tina”.
Tip 1: Know your audience
Don’t worry. I will never advise you to picture your audience naked. Although, I do recommend knowing who your audience is. It is pretty intimidating to face the blank expressions of the audience, but it is up to you to break the ice.
The most significant portion of your presentation is the introduction and the conclusion. Thus, try using a startling statistic/fact, a powerful quote, or an intriguing anecdote at the beginning to hook your audience. As well, end the presentation with a recap and profound statement that will resonate with your peers.
Do not be afraid to sprinkle in some humour, stories, and effective language throughout your presentation. Focus on your audience, use their reactions to gauge how to adjust your message, and stay flexible.
Tip 2: Improvisation is key
My best tip is to ditch the script during a presentation. By having a script in your hands, you can feel quite restricted, even afraid to improvise. When you read off the script, you are cutting down on precious eye contact. Eye contact is essential to create an interpersonal connection with the audience.
Trust yourself, you wrote the presentation, and these are your words. Improvisation can be your best friend, especially if your memory is failing you. If needed, bring up a brief outline of your main talking points. Use it to both jog your memory and prevent unnecessary tangents.
Tip 3: Be yourself!
My last piece of advice for you is both extremely cliche but also very useful. Be yourself! During a presentation, the last thing you want is for the audience to equate you to a talking head. Allow your charismatic personality to come through as you speak, and try not to be so cold towards your peers.
Professionalism is recommended. However, a connection with your audience holds precedence. Having personality while speaking makes your information much more credible. It allows your audience to trust what you have to say.
Be confident because your nerves will overpower the presentation. Omit any nervous behaviour or ticks, as it creates a massive distraction while speaking. Before any presentation, loosen up, and move naturally. The more you attempt to control your movements, the more mechanical your production comes off.
Good communication will not always be perfect, and perfection is not expected from the speaker. Harness that adrenaline rush before a presentation, and use it to give the best performance you possibly can. You will never thoroughly shake off those nerves, but you can always learn how to minimize them.
Edited by Jakob Kramer