People often remark that they don’t know how I can stand up in front of a room full of people (3,000 a few years back!) and say something besides ‘uhhhhhh….’!
You’ve heard the old cliché – people would rather die than speak to a group. I think that’s going a bit far; however, we all speak to groups of people every day. The key difference is that the folks we speak to every day are usually work associates or friends. When we get up in front of a proper ‘audience’, those people are usually strangers and have the strange power to terrify us.
Here are a couple of things to remember that will, hopefully, help you deliver a BETTER presentation the next time you find yourself in front of a group.
1.) PREPARE & PRACTICE what you’re going to say. I know most people think, “I know my material – I can wing it!” I’m here to tell you that is a mistake. I know from personal experience that as soon as my nerves kick in before a talk (as they always do), no matter how well I ‘know my stuff’ I can STILL come across as a babbling idiot if I haven’t practiced my talk.
2.) The audience members don’t know what you’re supposed to say! If you omit something or flip two points around – and you will – they’ll never know it!
3.) People don’t come along to a talk (generally) to be educated – they come along to be ENTERTAINED! Be sure to use visuals, stories, case studies based around REAL people, etc. in your talk. “Death by Powerpoint” is SOOO last century!
4.) Your slides are not your presentation – YOU are your presentation. So, as much as feasible, leave the slides behind and just talk to your audience like you would tell a story to your friends.
That’s enough for today. I have a lot more, but I remember learning these things and it took time to digest them and move away from my old (bad) habits.