“I’m standing on a stage
Of fear and self-doubt
It’s a hollow play
But they’ll clap anyway…”
Arcade Fire. “My body is A Cage”
Giving a presentation to clients, co-workers or your boss can be a daunting prospect. The best simile I can think of to describe the initial feeling is that of being on a stage as the spotlight focuses in on your performance.
‘Glossophobia’ is the term given for a severe fear of public speaking. For most of us that fear is not that extreme, but we’ve all been in the situation where paralysis sets in, our mind goes blank and our opening sentence begins with “........Ehh”.
The following tips may be of benefit to you when trying to overcome that stage fright:
1. Craft your presentation
Have a clear concise introduction that sets the tone early on and draws your audience in. Make the conclusion to your presentation strong and memorable.
2. Practice, practice, practice
Practice your presentation aloud,
in front of a mirror or while walking the dog. Use a Dictaphone to record yourself. Play it back and assess if there are areas that could be clearer or more concise.
3. Ask for feedback
Use friends or colleagues as a soundboard and ask them for feedback, something that is clear to you may not be clear to your audience.
4. Know your technology
Arrive early for your presentation to set everything up. Do not let a scenario arise where you are unfamiliar with the projector or laptop to give your presentation.
5. Interact with your audience, before, during and after the presentation
Your audience would like to be involved and they want an efficient, concise and informative presentation just as much as you do.
6. Add personal stories and examples
Punctuate your presentation with personal stories and examples if possible. Your audience will relate in a more positive manner if you share personal stories and examples with them. Be careful that any stories and examples given, suit the ultimate message of the presentation that you are trying to convey.
Best of luck with your next presentation. Break a leg!
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