5 Steps To Deliver Presentations Without Anxiety
Public speaking sits atop the “14 Worst Human Fears“ list. What’s weird is that you are probably quite skilled at having a one-on-one conversation with somebody but somehow those skills desert you when you get up to speak in front of a group. While public speaking can be nerve-wracking, there are some things you can do to help make the butterflies go away and deliver presentations without anxiety.
Step 1: Arrive Early
Make sure you arrive at your venue early in order to give yourself plenty of time to settle in before you give your presentation. Extra time will not only ensure that you won’t be late (the worst case scenario) but you’ll need ample time at the venue to practice your presentation delivery.
Step 2: Practice, Practice, Practice
The old saying, practice makes perfect is 100% correct. I cannot stress it enough. Practice your presentation several times OUT LOUD, and speak directly into a mirror. You could also try recording your presentation and playing it back to evaluate which areas might need to be re-worded. Also, if you are able to practice your material in the same room you’ll be delivering your presentation, do it. This will allow you to get used to your surroundings. Additionally, doing a run-through with any technology that you’ll be using the day of will help you avoid difficulties with unfamiliar software, lighting, projectors and computers.
Step 3: Admit Nervousness
When you get up to the microphone to speak, the best thing you can do is admit that you are nervous and not a big fan of public speaking. When you do this, the audience will be more forgiving if your voice cracks or you stumble in your delivery. More importantly, you will feel more relaxed to know they are not expecting a world-class performance. And imagine their surprise when you deliver a solid presentation! In my first ever presentation, in front of several hundred people, I admitted that I was nervous and I told them “just so you know, I’m picturing all of you naked”. It got a big laugh and it really made me relax. It was a great icebreaker!
Step 4: Provide Supporting Visuals
Everyone loves visual aids. Not only are they entertaining but it gives the audience something else to focus on. Make sure your visual aids support your presentation with easy-to-understand graphics and illustrations that don’t take your audience’s attention away from what you’re saying.
Step 5: Summarize
To further reinforce the details of your presentation, give your audience a final slide with 3-5 key points you want to leave them with. This summary page should be written in a large font on the last slide. These are the takeaways that you want your audience to remember. It’s a great way to summarize the key points of your presentation – the whole purpose of your discussion.
Not everyone is born with the gift of getting up in front of a large group to effortlessly present material. Preparation and practice are the keys to being successful! Do it enough times and before long you’ll be giving powerful presentations without the anxiety that comes along with it.