Presenting like a boss: Overcome Stage Fright
Some researches claim that most people would rather die than talk in front of a live audience. And I’m not just making that up. Speaking in front of many people might make it seem like having condescending faces judging your every step, which is completely natural for some people. We all get nervous at least a little bit before we step up in front of a crowd.
A fraction of that anxiety creeps up to you during presentations which will be an inevitable part of your professional life. Even talking in front of small groups can be difficult for some people, which is completely normal. I have listed all the “Tricks and Tips” to keep in mind before, during and after the presentation to make it a super effective one.
Pre-Presentation Check List
a. Always remember the 3 I’s
- Image: Always make sure you know what people think about you. That helps you to understand what the audience is expecting from you.
- Intention: Make sure you know why you are presenting. Are you there to sell something? Do you want to let the audience know about your products or services? When you are clear about your intention behind the presentation, consider your preparation to be 50% done.
- Impact: What’s the impact you want to make on your audience? It might be eagerness to buy your product or service after the presentation, a pep talk to get employees motivated or something else.
b. People DO judge a book by its cover (Your Appearance)
You’re not supposed to do it, but people do judge you by your appearance. Always make sure you know what you want to wear and how you want to look for the presentation. It’s about making your first impression. It makes a huge difference. I believe “The first step of feeling good is looking good”. It helps you gain more confidence. Just because Steve Jobs made it look easy with a turtle neck, it will not necessarily work as well for you.
c. Know your Sh*t
You should know what you are presenting about. That’s core basics. It’s always better to research a little more of what you are actually presenting. It helps you not make a fool out of yourself if you receive any cross-questions from the audience during or after your presentation. Always know more about the subject you’re talking about than your audience does.
Practice your presentation as many times as possible. Practice not memorise. Try presenting in front of a mirror, a video camera or a close friend to know how your presentation looks and sounds.
e. Know your audience
Presentation is always better customized according to the audience. Learn how to adapt to your audience. You do not want to use Thomas the Tank Engine as an exemplary image in your business presentation.
f. Know your Venue and Equipment
Size of the venue and availability of equipment will always help you be prepared. It is always better to carry a multi-port and a flash-drive along with your laptop to the venue where you are presenting.
a. Your Voice:
We all know we sound weird when we hear ourselves over the speakers while we speak through a microphone. If you haven’t done it yet, maybe you should try listening to yourself sing on your phone’s recorder.
Again that’s how a lot of people feel. It’s always better to practice with a microphone or if it’s not possible try recording a voice clip or a video to know how you exactly sound. It’s common for people to get nervous when they hear their own voice over the speakers.
b. Your Presenting Style:
Be original. Be yourself. People will figure out if you are trying to copy someone. Always try to be different and creative. Try to create your own style while presenting. Promote originality.
c. Body Language:
Using Hand gestures and different facial expression will always help you express yourself better. Make sure you make eye contact with almost everyone present at your program. Don’t over do it though. Keep it simple and natural. You don’t want to come off as Mr. Beanstaring down everyone in the audience.
d. Audience Engagement:
Get the audience involved. It not only helps interaction but also creates a livelier environment. Ask questions at times or ask your audience to give their point of view or opinion. This always helps you take a break from continuously talking.
Post Presentation Checklist
a. Ask someone to join the program:
It’s always better to have someone close to you or someone who is brutally honest with you in the audience. They will always give you an honest feedback on how you presented. It’s always better to know how the presentation was so you can better prepare for the next one.
b. Learn from your mistakes:
We all make mistakes. It is always better to think back about the mistakes and improve it before the next presentation. It’s called sharpening the saw. Speaking in front of people can be difficult, but once you enter a profession, doing so might become unavoidable. But it is only as scary as you make it. With a little practice and the right skills, you should be able to present just as well as the next guy. If all else fails, they say visioning your audience naked in front of you helps. However, if you are speaking in front of an audience filled with Victoria’s Secrets’ models, that plan could miserably backfire. The chances of that happening, though, are slim and narrow.
Words: Abhisekh Maskey,
Marketing and PR Manager, Edushala Pvt. Ltd.