Public SpeakingHere are tips gathered from all of the BellaOnline editors on how to give a presentation in front of a group. I'll list multiple versions of the same item if multiple editors mention it, to indicate it was important.
- Keep the slide notes short
- Reduce slides to only short words, have images rather than words
- Put comics into the presentation
- Add humor
- Have cached versions of all internet pages you want
- Print your notes in a large font, double space notes
- Print the outline in large type
- Print the whole thing in large print and staple it together
Over A Week Before the Presentation Day
- Practice ahead of time, get used to your voice
- Tape record yourself
- Practice the script repeatedly, color code the paragraphs, highlight key words, mark pauses
- Practice in front of a mirror OR
- Practice the whole thing in front of a mirror OR
- Don't practice in front of a mirror but be aware of hand gestures OR
- Practice in front of a video camera, in front of friends. Watch for scared postures - hunched shoulders, defensive postures. Make yourself look positive and the attitude will follow
- Be aware you'll speak faster, you'll be nervous
- Think of a specific moment when you were really confident. Visualize that and put your finger and thumb together. Practice until the motion brings that feeling with it.
- Toastmasters offers lessons
- Be well prepared
- Be ultra prepared - memorize the speech especially the first few minutes. The first minute or two is critical.
The Week of the Presentation
- Stand by a wall and talk to it softly - then keep backing up and getting louder to learn to project
- Practice calming down, practice some jokes
- Practice your intro over and over, say you're honored to be there
- Get a good night's sleep
- Don't wear a new outfit OR
- Try a new haircut or outfit for confidence
- Wear comfy clothes, very little jewelry, nothing dangly.
- Don't wear noisy jewelry.
- Wear something you feel confident in
- Go with something just a bit dressier than normal
- Dress a step above what the audience will wear.
- Be conservative, not sexy
- Keep backups of your presentation.
- Be prepared for technical issues. Have a plan in case the slides fail
- Take you own computer, take backup versions of the presentation, take old-software versions.
- Carry important things in your carry on luggage.
The Day of the Presentation
- Eat gentle foods - tea, water, crackers, toast, soup, jello
- Avoid caffeine / carbonated drinks. Eat lightly - fruit, protein.
- No coffee for 2 hrs beforehand
- Listen to calming music, take walks
- Warm your voice up gradually in the morning
- Put hand on head and go hummmmmm until head buzzes
An Hour Before the Presentation
- Go early and practice hearing your voice amplified
- Go to the room beforehand and get everything set up and working.
- You own the room, set the lights, set the volume, be comfortable with it.
- Take off watch and put it down or put a clock down. Looking at a watch is bad
- Visit the location beforehand, get used to the space, echo, etc.
- If you're really getting ill, there are drugs
- For more gentle help, herbal aromas - lavender, camomile
- Ask for a podium - this is good to hold onto
- Quiet positive thinking for 10 minutes beforehand
- Meditate before starting
The First 90 Seconds
- Do your calming 'hand motion' this during the 'getting started' phase
- Warm up your voice
- Deep breathing helps with shaking voice
- Take a few deep breaths before you start
- Have the introducer give a cool introduction
- Relax and be yourself. Being nervous is normal, accept it.
- Let them know you're nervous
- Start with a funny story; reconnect to it at the end
- Start with a joke
- Joke at the beginning
- Make a little joke to start
- Visualize how someone confident that you know would act
- Squeeze your toes against the inside of the bottom of your shoes
- Do an icebreaker exercise to involve people and get people relaxed
- Tell them up front that questions wait until the end
- Act confident
Giving the Presentation
- Breathe. Take deep breaths. Take silences.
- Nerves tend to go away once you get involved
- After the first 15 minutes it gets easier
- Have a bottle of water and tissue handy.
- Drink water regularly / drink lots of water
- drink bottled water, no caffeine
- Ask questions at the beginning of the talk to get interests
- Don't apologize for being there, but gentle jokes are fine
- Smile a lot
- Take your time talking
- Slow things down, take pauses, take drinks. Don't rush the audience.
- Avoid monotone
- Use hand gestures
- Don't play with your necklace or twirl your hair.
- Pauses are long to you but really short to the audience
- Maximum of 15 minutes per section
- Use lots of examples and personal stories, people remember those
- Use real life funny stories
- When nerves hit, drink water and take a moment to regroup
- Avoid all uhs and ums. Just be quiet when you get stuck.
- Don't say um. Instead, take breaths.
- Move around a little while talking
- Don't hang onto the podium - walk around it will help remove jitters
- Smile, be human, move around so they don't fall asleep
- Leave time for questions or offer a way to answer them
- Be ready for tons of questions afterwards
- Take questions - it gives you a chance to relax and just answer
- Leave time for talks - people like being able to feel like their question is the spotlight
- Be careful about questioners who are looking to get their own forum
- If there's an emergency, direct the audience out calmly
- If you use handouts, give them out afterwards.
- Ask for an evaluation
Looking at the Audience
- Hold eye contact for a few seconds OR
- Don't look anyone in the eye - look over their heads OR
- Focus on the smiling faces and glance at the rest occasionally. OR
- Talk to just one person in the middle of the audience. Then switch to another and talk directly to them.
- Look at the audience. Focus on the friendly faces and imagine you're just chatting with a friend.
- Find 2 or 3 people in the audience and focus on them. Talk to them.
- Look the people in the forehead, right above the eye
- Make eye contact, slowly, look them in the eye
- Look at the audience, not the screen.
- Talk directly to a few friendly faces
- Get a friendly person to sit in the first or second row, center. Talk to them.
- Think of them as one big person
- Look at a few friendly faces across the front row. People in the audience will just see you're "looking at the crowd". Glance in the back occasionally.
- Write down affirmations - "I will be a great speaker" and recite them to yourself beforehand
- Optimize your attitude. The listeneners want you to succeed, they want your advice
- They want you to do a good job; they're rooting for you
- They'll forget mistakes and remember the important parts
- I have important information - the audience is there because they want to hear it
- Speak from the heart
- You are the expert
- To them there is just one of you talking to one of them.
- Relax. You are an expert on the topic.
- If you know your stuff you will be confident
- They're looking for tidbits they can use, not to find flaws
- Be yourself, laugh at any mistakes
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