As you advance in your careers, you will be called upon to speak to groups. The following tips will help you conquer your nervousness and give effective presentations:
- Know your material. Select a topic that you know about and are interested in. Use stories and conversational language so you can more easily remember what you want to say.
- Practise. Rehearse your presentation aloud with the props or equipment you will use —such as PowerPoint and a laser pointer.
- Know your audience. If speaking to an unfamiliar group, try to meet a few of the audience members beforehand so that you will see familiar faces in the room while you speak.
- Know the space. Arrive early to familiarise yourself with the room and the equipment you will be using, such as a microphone or visual aids.
- Relax. Take a few deep breaths before speaking. Try to convert your nervous energy into enthusiasm.
- Picture yourself delivering your presentation beforehand. Visualise yourself speaking with a loud and clear voice while gesturing confidently. Imagine the audience clapping as you conclude.
- Realise that people want you to succeed. Audience members want your presentation to be interesting, informative and entertaining. They’re not secretly hoping that you flounder and bore them.
- Never apologise. Nine times out of ten the audience won’t notice what you are apologising for. Don’t say, “Sorry for my nervousness” or “I don’t make presentations often.”
- Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus on the audience and the message that you are delivering rather than your own nervousness or anxieties.
- Do it again! Speaking regularly in public will help build your confidence and increase proficiency.
There’s no need to worry when you are called upon to speak in public. Following the tips outlined will help you stay relaxed and connect with your audience.