Feeling anxious about interviewing, speaking in public or presenting to a group is perfectly natural. You can learn to manage that anxiety so that you’ll speak with poise, assurance, and wow everyone with your confidence, every time.
So, where do you start? You need to discover what presenters have known for years:
1. Speaking to a group is not just about you
When you focus on your audience, the anxiety you feel about preparing and delivering a presentation or speech is replaced by your focus on the people who will be listening to you.
TIP: It’s essential to ask yourself: “Who am I presenting to?” When you know the answer, then—and only then—can you make a successful presentation.
Do you know exactly who is going to be in the audience? Why are they there?
You may need to research their level of expertise and experience as the less experienced an audience is, the more you need to use examples to illustrate your key points. In other words, what are the audience expecting you to talk about?
When you know who your audience is and what they expect to hear from you, then you can start to concentrate on how you can meet their needs. All presentations should have one key objective which is a purpose or reason for speaking. Many presenters will say “I have the knowledge but I do not know where to begin to start preparing the presentation”. Begin with the purpose, it may be to inform or share knowledge, for example, advising your work colleagues in a meeting about a new process. Another reason is to persuade or motivate your audience, for example, presenting a product to a client with the objective of them buying that product.
Knowing what your key objective is will help you keep your ideas focused throughout your presentation and ensure all the information relates to this objective. Understanding your audience and what they want to hear and ascertaining your purpose will be the starting point in preparing a structured presentation.
Look out for the 2nd part of Maureen Bell’s series in association with Quay Appointments, “Structuring a presentation”