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Seven steps to presentation success


At one point or another, we’ve all been stuck in a boring presentation, practically falling asleep, or worse, pretending to take notes, when we are really just surfing the Internet or texting. The poor presenter at the same time is nervous and not doing well and can’t wait for his/her time to be done. So, how do you prevent that horrible experience for all involved? At some point every employee has to address an audience formally or informally.{{more}} With this in mind, overcoming or managing your fear of public speaking will mean having a game plan to help you survive your next speaking engagement. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Manage the butterflies. Imagine a positive outcome, practise your presentation and know that your audience wants to see you do a good job. Take time before the presentation to calm your nerves, breathe slowly or take a quick walk. Once you begin, pause if you lose your train of thought or need to regain your composure.

Know your desired outcome. Your confidence level will increase when you are clear about the goals you want to accomplish with the audience. Presentations are usually designed to inform, persuade or teach.

Plan your presentation. Map out your introduction, the body of the speech and the conclusion. Include details such as how to transition from point to point, when to weave in stories and examples, and how to strategically use humour. Become very familiar with the presentation, so you are not dependent on your notes.

Right fit. Make sure your presentation is the right fit for the audience. The best presentation will be ineffective if it is presented to the wrong audience.

Manage technology. If you decide to use a PowerPoint presentation, print the presentation ahead of time and make it available to the audience in the event the computer just does not work.

Watch the time. Respect the timeframe you are given. Nothing aggravates audiences more than presenters who take more time than allotted. Read the audience and let them give you the go-ahead to use more time when possible. Don’t take extra time just because you did not finish your presentation.

Do not read. Do not read your presentation; it’s simply torture for your audience. Make it interactive and design your delivery so you address the three different types of learners: auditory, kinesthetic and visual.

Public speaking, like any project, is manageable if organized correctly. Overcoming the fear has more to do with elevating the confidence level of the speaker and convincing him/her that he/she is able to do an excellent job.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to [email protected]
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