Holding a presentation in front of a live audience feels always scary at first. Capturing attention, holding eye contact, gesturing correctly with your hands without imitating Michael Jackson’s dance moves is difficult in itself, not to mention, presenting in a second language such as English.
Here are 5 quick tips on how to prepare for a successful presentation.
Tip #1 - Know the venue and the stage
Knowing the location where your presentation will be held is key. Nowadays, many seminars and talks have become webinar, with a digital, online location, but the principle remains the same.
Do you know, how many people will be listening, if you’ll have a microphone or whether you need to elevate your voice? Will you have a screen or projector?
Try your best to get answers to all of these questions before you practice your presentation, as knowing your environment boosts courage and confidence.
Tip #2 - Plan your story
In the past decade, presentations have become shorter and more effective. Your audience doesn’t need long introductions anymore! According to the current conference trends, the newest form public speaking is a maximum of 20 minutes long. To make a good impression, include a personal story arch in your communication with an engaging intro, a journey from A to B, and an unexpected summary with key takeaways.
This might be obvious, but keep the audience in mind, while preparing your outfit. Dressing up more formally way is never considered a mistake, however, if you aim for being more casual to your audience, you might end up feeling awkward. Remember, dressing up is also a form of communication and if you’re going online, consider your background! Test your video beforehand and if your personal space is a problem, choose a pre-selected Zoom or Skype background and save yourself a lot of time and worry.
Tip #4 - Start with a good laugh
Don’t confuse your presentation with a stand-up comedy show, but keep in mind, that humour is memorable and helps everyone to relax. A work-related story or just a simple joke about the topic might do the trick and catch your audience’s attention. Keep it simple though, especially if in a second language.
Tip #5 – Practice; Speed and timing
Practice, practice, and practice! Until you are experienced enough to immediately jumpstart public speaking on any topics, the best approach is to rehearse your words. Depending on the type of presentation you’re giving, your speed should adapt to your message.
Use a slow and deep voice to create anticipation and pitch and speed to show passion. Your voice is an entire toolbox at your disposal. Practice with these tools and see how each one impacts your conversation and delivery.
Practicing is key to be able to hold the given timeframe, as there is nothing more unpleasant than running out of time in the middle of your presentation and speed will certainly impact whether you are working with or against the clock.