“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”
~ Alexander Graham Bell ~
Know your subject
- The more you know your subject the easier you will find it to stay on track
- If you lose focus, you can easily recover if you have invested time in learning the content.
- As part of your preparation, consider what questions your audience might ask and have your responses ready (if applicable)
- The more organised you are the less nervous you will be and the more confident you will feel
- Make a list of everything you will need to support your presentation e.g., props, audio or visual
- Ensure that the place you will speaking at can accommodate the space you need and the equipment (if required) to facilitate your presentation
- Use a small card with bullet points of your presentation/speech to keep you on track
Practice, don’t memorise
- Practice your presentation/speech as this is a great way to promote self-confidence
- Try not to memorise your presentation word for word because if you do forget a sentence or miss something out it can throw you in to brain freeze
- Ask friends or family to be your audience so that you can rehearse and gain feedback
- You might consider taking a video of your presentation on your smartphone or ask someone to film you so that you can watch and see any opportunities for improvement or change
Don’t try to be perfect
- A big fear that sits alongside public speaking is the fear of imperfection. No one ever gets it perfect so, rather than striving to become a super speaker, just be yourself and you won’t go far wrong. Your audience will respond well to your natural flow ~ “the more you flow, the more you glow”
- Aim to do your best instead of striving for perfection
Being nervous is a good thing
- Being nervous means that you care about giving a good presentation – if you feel nervous you will be producing adrenaline and, at a healthy level, this can be very helpful.
- Healthy adrenaline sharpens your focus, motivates you and builds enthusiasm to convey your message
- If you start to feel nervous before or during your presentation, remind yourself that adrenalin is the fuel that favours your success!
Engage Your Audience
- Make good eye contact. Audience involvement is key to a good presentation.
- Ask questions or invite your audience to ask questions of you. Shifting your presentation from monologue to dialogue is a great way of engaging your audience and will reduce any nerves or tension
- Practice speaking slowly. When we talk quickly our brain sees it as a threat.
- Speaking slowly and calmly sends a message to our brain that we are feeling calm and relaxed
Calm breathing is central to good public speaking. It powers your ability to perform at your best. It can be hard to breathe calmly when we need it most so practice this simple technique daily:
- Loosen your clothing / breathe out whilst pulling your belly in until you can’t push any more air out of your body (2) let your belly go completely (3) inhale keeping your belly relaxed
- A few seconds of daily practice will help you lock this habit in for when you most need it
- Relax and enjoy your time to shine 😊
Visualising Success - Reframe
Find an uninterrupted 5-10 minutes in your day and make sure you are in a comfortable and relaxed environment.
Think about an upcoming event where you will either present to an audience or deliver a pitch for your business.
Take a big, deep breath…….. in through your nose to the count of 7 [PAUSE] before taking a nice long deep breath…….. out through your mouth to the count of 11
(do this a few times until you can feel your body starting to relax)
Think about your chosen event. Where is the location and how are you getting there? What are you wearing?
Visualise yourself walking into the venue, with your shoulders back, your head held high, feeling positive that this is going to be a great experience for you
Observe your environment - who is around you? What can you hear? What can you see? Invite these thoughts and feelings into your mind
Remind yourself of the reasons for being at the event, what is your goal? See yourself feeling comfortable and relaxed.
Visualise yourself standing up in front of your audience, you are smiling and introducing yourself, feeling relaxed and comfortable.
You feel a flush of excitement - acknowledge it, embrace it and remind yourself that you have chosen to step on to this platform and you are going to enjoy every moment 😊
Hold this experience in your mind until it starts to fade, smile and open your eyes
Repeat this exercise as and when required.
**When you are familiar with this exercise you will be able to do it with your eyes closed!