TGPC How Do You Prepare for Presentations?
Preparing for presentations isn’t easy. Even team meetings with your colleagues can be stressful and challenging. Few of us are genuinely extroverts, and with public speaking, even fewer of us are comfortable.
Here’s what you need to in order to feel confident and comfortable giving the presentation.
1. Start with your key talking points. There is no point in composing a complete script or presentation until you understand the points that you want to emphasise. You can then stick to a conventional format: (a) tell them what you'll be showing them ; (b) show them ; and (c) tell them what you've just shown them.
2. Write down a script. It allows you to write all out and begin to massage the phrases as you like. It also provides you a benchmark to exercise and refine things.
3. Don’t get hung up on specific words. It’s unlikely that missing or changing any one word will totally ruin your presentation, so don’t worry about perfection. The only person that knows you “messed up” is you.
4. Find your speaking style. Over time with enough practice you can learn to speak and present in any style, but if you’re in crunch mode and don’t have enough time, just try and find your own speaking style. Find your groove. Some people are ultra-enthusiastic. Some are much calmer.
5. Practice in front of people. If you haven’t given a lot of presentations this will feel awkward but it’s better to get over those feelings now rather than when you’re on stage. So practice in front of others But be cautious to take advice, particularly if the presentation is approaching quickly. The danger is that you will attempt to incorporate changes with which you are not really comfortable, whether in the real script or in your presentation style, and you will end up causing more harm than good. You should seek specialist assistance with your presentation given the chance, but be cautious how to take advice, particularly late in the game.
6. Practice with disturbance and distraction. It's good to sit in a bubble and exercise without distractions at all. To memorize stuff, you need the quiet time to get a feel for what you're doing. But you also need to practice while distracted – be it by other sounds or visually (people walking by my office door, for example)
because it will make you feel more confident you have to be prepared for anything, and practicing with distractions is helpful.
7. Practice piece by piece. It is quite helpful to practice each section of your presentation in pieces. You need to focus on one part, memorize the core elements, run through it till you are comfortable and then move to the next piece.
Then it’s just a matter of stringing the pieces together, which is easier.
8. Think ahead. So you are on sentence #5 but your mind is already bringing up sentence #6 and #7. You don’t have to think too far ahead but just enough that the transition from sentence-to-sentence is ultra-smooth and simple. Each sentence sets off a reminder for the next one.
9. Practice gestures of your hand. If you're giving a "naked" lecture (nothing like a table before you, etc.) then you need to know what you're doing with your hands as well as your feet. So, think about the gestures of your hand and how they relate to what you say. If you intend to move around, synchronize your phrases with
each other. The hand gestures and where you will be walking should be triggers cuing what you should be saying.
10. Find your comfort zone. All of the world's advice won't help if you can't be comfortable with your preparing, training methods, and the presentation itself. Do anything that makes you feel comfortable. The more you feel comfortable, the more confident you feel, and the better things are going to go.
How do you prepare for presentations? Let us know!