Fear of public speaking is one of the highest ranking phobias.
Standing up in front of a group of people, whether they are known to you or not, can be incredibly daunting. However, as a business owner, public speaking can be a powerful way of getting across your expertise and an understanding of how your business can help others. Whether it is at a networking event, conference or presenting to a prospective client, how you come across can influence whether people use or recommend your services.
Presenting doesn’t need to be scary. Here are some tips to help you prepare for that big presentation:
Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance…
Try to make time to prepare for your presentation. You may well be a ‘seat of the pants’ kind of person, but even those who ‘wing it’ often take time to prepare. Think about the key points you want to get across and the best order to present them.
Less is More: content
Your audience is only likely to remember two or three of your key points. If you pack your presentation full of information, your key messages are likely to be lost. Why are you doing this particular presentation? Once you have that clear in your mind, decide what are the three key things you want people to remember and focus on those in your preparation.
Less is More: visual aids
If you decide to use visual aids in the form of electronic slides, whiteboard or flipchart keep the information you display to a minimum. As with your content, keep each slide (page) to two or three points. Keep these points short and succinct. Check your spelling and grammar – if that’s not your strong point, ask someone else to check it. There’s nothing more distracting than a typo on a presentation. Don’t be tempted to sneak in all the information you couldn’t cover in your content!
Practice Makes Perfect
Whether it’s in front of the mirror, a friendly colleague or family member, try to run through your full presentation ahead of the real thing. Check your timings. Practice with props or visual aids so that you don’t end up fumbling with them on the day.
On the Day
Remember that nobody, except for you, knows exactly what you plan to cover. If you miss something out, it is not the end of the world and you definitely don’t need to tell the audience you missed it! And finally, try to relax and enjoy the experience.