Presenting to an audience can be daunting, but with the right preparation you can reduce the fear factor considerably.
There are a number of steps you can take to help you come across as authoritative, confident and compelling when you’re presenting to an audience – whether it be to two people, two hundred, or two thousand.
The first thing to consider is: who is the audience? And second, why are they there? Once you know that, you can set the tone for your presentation. If they’re industry experts, the language and detail you give can be much more focused than if you’re presenting to a largely un-educated audience.
If you can, try to check out the venue before you’re due on stage. If it’s a meeting room in your offices this is much easier to do. You should visualise how you want the audience to sit/stand and make sure that the room or venue is ready for you. If it’s a familiar location, this could give you extra comfort. However, even if it’s a new venue, as long as you take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with it and think about how you’re going to use the space, you won’t have to worry about any logistical elements or other distractions when the time comes to present.
Check that the room has all of the equipment you need. It’s no good going in with a USB stick with your presentation if there’s nowhere to plug it in. Wherever possible take your laptop, a bag of connection cables and the presentation on a USB stick. If the audience is small enough, you may also want to consider printing the presentation out in full, so that should the worst happen and all your tech fails, you can carry on regardless.
Practise, practise, practise! The easiest way to reduce nerves is to know the story you’re telling inside and out. You need to be comfortable with what you’re saying and also how you’re saying it. This means sifting through your presentation with a fine tooth-comb to make sure there’s no potential tongue twisters or phrases that you could trip over.
Remember, you’re an expert and that’s why you’ve been asked to present, but we know that presenting can still be daunting. Rostrum hosts bespoke half-day presentation training workshops designed to help you gain confidence in your presentation and to give you some top tips. And we host regular two-hour seminars on creating a powerful presentation too.