Public speaking can be terrifying. Even experienced speakers admit to having stage freight before a presentation. In this post, I’m going to share five tips you can use to overcome your fear of public speaking and give a great presentation.
- Know your audience. Before your presentation, do some research into the event and audience you will be speaking to. At the event, arrive early and talk to guests as they arrive. This helps transform that room full of strangers into a room full of friends.
- Write Notecards. Notecards are easy to carry and allow you to write down the key points of your presentation. This will help you keep your place during your presentation without appearing to be reading a script.
- Use a microphone. When speaking to a group of more than 20, a microphone helps everyone hear your presentation. For handheld microphones, hold it about 6” away from your mouth. This will allow your voice to be heard clearly without pops or distortion.
- Don’t rely on visual slides. Visuals can be a helpful enhancement to your presentation but relying too much on slides gives your audience a chance to lose focus. Just like your notecards, your slides should include key points of your presentation with images. Always check to make sure your text is large enough to read at a distance from the screen.
- Choose 3 people in the room to ‘speak to’. When you go on stage, pick someone in the left right and center of your audience to make eye contact with throughout your presentation. This tactic helps make your presentation feel more like a conversation with your entire audience.
Preparing for Your Presentation
A great presentation begins with taking care of yourself. Make sure to get plenty of sleep the night before, drink plenty of water and eat a good meal the morning of your presentation. If you are traveling for your presentation, arrive in-town the day before. This will help make sure you have the energy to give the best presentation possible.
Just like an athlete, you have to practice. The more you practice your presentation, the more comfortable you’ll be the next time you speak.