Do you worry when you need to give a talk or presentation? You possibly worry that you will forget what you need to say and think that your audience is bored or not listening. You are not alone, lots of people dislike talking in front of an audience, giving a presentation and getting people to listen to them. But if you have to give a talk at a networking group, a presentation to a possible client or you are asked to speak at college or school about being your own boss, these practical tips could help you out.
Tip One – Practice in front of others
Over the years I have been really fortunate to receive training from some expert public speakers and lecturers. Nearly all of them tell you the best way to learn is to have a go and practice in front of live audiences, get feedback and keep on improving. I agree with them that this is an excellent way of developing your skills in giving presentations; nothing beats a live audience and some real feedback. But choose your audience carefully; family and friends can either be too kind or too brutal.
Tip Two –Overcome nerves by knowing your stuff
I recommend that you begin with really understanding your topic – knowing your stuff makes it much easier to talk and relax into your presentation. It will also mean that you are not worried about awkward questions and getting things wrong. It’s much better for the audience to listen to someone who clearly understands their topic, it means that we feel less worried that it will go wrong and will be more inclined to listen and willing to disregard any nervous slip-ups.
Tip Three – Keep it simple
When you first start presenting I suggest you keep it simple, don’t over complicate with technology, funny jokes and props that can go wrong, especially when you are already nervous. Use simple stories to clarify the points being made and avoid difficult topics or risky discussions until you feel more comfortable with presenting and ready for the next challenge.
Tip Four – Clear messages
Remember that on the whole your audience is not giving you their full attention. With that in mind keep your messages simple, clear and ‘on topic’. Don’t over complicate with multiple messages and diverse explanations. Use visual references when you can so people can imagine what you are talking about.
Tip Five –Enjoy
Try and enjoy the talk, have fun and don’t be too harsh on yourself. The more you enjoy what you are doing the more others around you enjoy it as well. There is nothing more awful than watching someone talk who clearly hates every minute of it. Relax into your talk and the audience will as well.
I still think one of the best ways for you to learn how to present is to watch other people and see what they do. That way you can decide what you should and shouldn’t do in your own talks and presentations.
Talking about presenting information, I have just seen this clip on You Tube and I thought you would all love it. It shows you the types of things that do and can go wrong in a humorous way. Enjoy!