Ten Quick Tips for Outstanding Presentations

It’s that time again…the monthly meeting. You break out in
a cold sweat just thinking about it. Whether you present to
your managers or your employees you are saying to
yourself:

What if I mess up?

What if I repeat myself?

What if the audience doesn’t like what I say?

What if I forget a part of my speech?

What if I look nervous?

It’s okay! You’re not the only one feeling this way. The
Book of Lists states that the #1 fear is speaking in public.
This fear is greater than the fear of death.

Well, I have the answers to your fears and can help you
become an outstanding presenter. These 10 tips will help
you become more confident making presentations that
achieve results.

1. Start with an End in Mind

Ask yourself, “Why am I speaking?” “What do I want the
audience to do after listening to my speech?” This will help
you focus on the message you want to share with your
audience. It will help you focus on who is your audience,
the key points, and what you want your audience to do after
listening to you.

2. Keep It Simple

Keep your presentation simple by learning to “speak to
express instead of speaking to impress.” What I mean by
speaking to impress is when you see speakers using $5
words for $2 situations during speeches and they look
uncomfortable doing it. Another example of this is when
presenters overuse PowerPoint. Your audience will soon
lose interest in what you are saying.

Also keep it simple with the structure of your speech. An
opening, body with tree major points, and a closing will help
you connect with your audience.
Just be sincere, concise, and simple in your presentation and
you will always connect with your audience.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

Master your presentation by practicing. Here’s the secret to
practicing…first read your speech to yourself 2-3 times. This
allows you to work out the majority of the rough spots in
your presentation before you start rehearsing.

Then rehearse in front of a mirror or even better a video
camera or tape player. Also try to rehearse in front of
someone whose opinion you value.

Then practice as close as possible to your speaking
environment as possible. For example, if you will be
speaking behind a lectern, practice with your notes on an
ironing board.

4. Visualize Success

Before going to sleep the night before a presentation I take
time to visualize the success of the presentation. The key to
making visualization work for you is involving as many
senses (sound, touch, sight, smell, etc.) as possible in your
visualization. Have you ever had a dream where it seemed so
real you awoke in a cold sweat (You don’t need to tell me
what the dream was)? It was because you used all your
senses and that dream became so real to you that you
needed to escape from it.

Visualize yourself giving a successful presentation where
you see yourself as a confident presenter, hear yourself
handling questions, etc. Visualize successful presentations
so that it becomes real.

5. Eat the Elephant

I ask the timeless question, “How do you eat an elephant?”
Piece by piece. The same answer applies to presenting to a
group. How do you present to a group? Person to person.
Break the group into individuals.

“How do I present to a large group?” is one of the biggest
questions people have when giving presentations. Get
personal. Whenever possible, I will make sure I arrive early
to the room I’m presenting in and plant myself by the
entrance. I will then greet as many people as possible that
walk through the door. I will shake their hands and let them
know I am glad they came. Here’s a tip for guaranteeing a
positive audience:

* As you greet, look for pleasant, upbeat people. Then say
something like, “I’m especially glad you made it today. As a
matter of fact there’s a sit in the front row with your name on
it. Please enjoy!”

The audience member will usually chuckle and you started
the personalization process. Also this allows you to stack all
the friendly audience members in the front rows. It’s always
nice to see friendly faces in the front row.

Remember, when giving a presentation, it’s not about your
needs or concerns. It’s about the audience’s needs or
concerns. Make it personal and eat the elephant!

6. Nail Your Opening

It’s the first words your audience hears. Know your opening
like the back of your hand. Know exactly what you are going
to say. Once you get started and gain some momentum you
will start to gain confidence for the rest of your speech.

It helps to pause for 3-5 seconds before you are about to
start your presentation so that can focus on what you are
about to say.

7. Nail Your Ending

It’s the last words your audience hears and reminder about
you. You can have a great opening and body and have a
bad ending and your audience your always remember how
you ended.

Ask your audience to take action, think about an idea, etc. so
that they understand why they are there.

8. Backup if You Forget

If you forget what you are about to say or lose your place in
the presentation do the following:

* Stop speaking. Take two steps backward. Then take a deep breath. Collect your thoughts. Smile. Take two steps forward and proceed with your presentation.

* Go back and repeat the last sentence. That will help trigger what comes next in your presentation.

* If you really go blank, ask an audience member what was the last sentence you said. Also, if they have handouts of your speech, you can ask the audience what is the next subject we will discuss. You will be surprised how many people will volunteer this information to help you. This will give you time to collect your thoughts, involve the audience, and go forward with your presentation.

Note: If you forget a piece of information, collect yourself,
and then go forward. Never say, “I’m sorry.” Unless the
audience has a copy of every single word of your speech
they will never know you forgot something.

9. Realize Nervousness is the Tool of Great Presenters
Believe it or not, all presenters, whether professional or
occasional, are nervous when presenting. The difference is
the best presenters use nervousness to their advantage by
turning nervousness into positive energy. Here are some
tips to control nervousness:

* Whenever possible walk from the back of the room to burn some of the nervous energy.

* Slow your breathing

* Stretch

10. Get Excited

Get excited so that the audience is excited about hearing
your presentation.

Some of the ways you can become excited is:

* Remember what you say is important and can make a difference for your audience.

* Every opportunity to present is a chance for you to succeed.

* Every time you speak you become better than the last time.

* Presenting will expose me to countless opportunities I wouldn’t have by not presenting.

So the next time you have the opportunity to present apply
the above techniques. You will have fun while presenting on
a whole new level.