Very few people are able to stand and present confidently, clearly and credibly the first time they have to present. Everyone, even the best conference presenters have nerves. In fact, the best speakers need that rush of adrenalin to provide the energy that sparks and inspires an audience. So, how do you acquire these skills? Actually, the only real way is to practice and practice and practice and then present, present, present. There is one technique that I have found very useful. Usually it is the “getting started” that is the most difficult part. I advise people to first learn their opening speech by heart. This allows the mouth to perform whilst the brain and emotions settle down. To help with remembering, use the acronym INTRO. This stands for:-
1. I = interest. Start with a sentence that gets the attention of the audience. A little-known fact, (I don’t advise a joke) or an interesting anecdote.
2. N = need. Why does the audience need to hear your presentation?
3. T = title. Sometimes this is forgotten because the presenter is so familiar with it – or it sits at the back of the presenter as slide wallpaper.
4. R = range. Outline what you are and are not going to cover. This saves people sitting waiting or interrupting you to ask a question that you are going to answer later.
5. O = objective. What points are you trying to get across? What will they know by the end of your presentation?
An Intro as above will clearly outline your topic and manage expectations. More importantly, it will support you in the opening sequence of your presentation and go a long way to establishing your credibility as a presenter.
As sated, practice leads to confidence. First you have to “act” confident, then as you practice, it becomes more real for you. Joining a Speakers Club to regularly practice in a friendly environment will significantly enhance your confidence and therefore your presentation performance.
The section above focuses on what you say, however, how you say it also matters. Lower your voice tone. 30% of what an audience takes in comes from communication. Dropping your voice one level at the start will allow your voice to raise an octive if your throat tightens, with no obvious change perceived by the audience. Record your voice, listen to it and make changes to the aspects you wish to improve.
Finally, look at online support. www.confidenceclub.net offers questionnaires, articles and other techniques. If you are letting yourself down by not presenting well, you should view seeking help as a business requirement not a personal one.