This is Part 3 of my series of articles about preparing a top-notch presentation.
Click here to read Part 1, in which I wrote about preparing your content.
Click here to read Part 2, in which I shared a few ideas for getting the attention of your audience.
In this week’s article I am going to cover what you can do to prepare yourself for your presentation:
I recommend practising your presentation several times; not just the words but also your intonation, how you emphasize your words, your gestures and time-keeping.
This is important: apparently, only 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc.).
This means that even if you have interesting content, you can really mess up your presentation if your body language or vocal elements are either boring or not supporting your message.
I have heard leaders talking about the bright future plans of their company in a low and monotonous voice, avoiding all eye contact. It’s boring. As a leader you need to capture hearts and imagination. You won’t get them if your body language does not match your message.
Consider rehearsing in front of a friend or colleague. Or work on your presentation with a coach who will be able to provide constructive challenge and support.
2. Check out the venue
For significant presentations I like to check out the venue in advance to avoid bad surprises:
- do I need a microphone?
- will people sit in a theatre, cabaret or other room layout?
- where is the best place for me to sit or stand?
- any restrictions on where I can stand and walk?
- do they have the IT facilities I need?
If you want to be extra prepared, you could also rehearse the whole speech at the venue and in front of a test audience, maybe a few colleagues or friends.
3. Plant questions
If there is a Q&A section at the end of your presentation, it can be a bit awkward if there is a silence when the audience is asked for questions. Rightly or wrongly, it could be interpreted as a lack of interest in your topic. If you want to avoid a stony silence, you can plant questions with members of the audience. I get that for some of you this may sound unauthentic. Yet often people are simply too shy to be the first one to ask a question. If your planted question breaks the ice, you may find that others follow and it would be a shame to lose out on that engagement.
These points will all help you prepare in practical terms and relieve some of the natural anxiety you may feel about public speaking.
Still nervous? Next week I will share tips on how you can manage this fear.
In the meantime, if you would like to talk to me about ways to prepare an upcoming presentation or about improving your public speaking and influencing skills generally, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Career & Life Coaching for Masterful Living®