Instead of telling you what NOT to do this blog gives you – in the simplest of terms, the Top 3 ‘things to do when making presentations’.
For the newbies, the nervous, or the anecdotally overwhelmed – this is the blog for you.
Right, let’s get straight to it:
- BREATHE! A primary need, and the most pernicious of symptoms for good ole nervousness is forgetting to breathe. With your heart pounding in your ears it can seem that if you dare to inhale, the world as you know it will crumble to non-existence and expose you as a rank amateur. Funny then, that this is precisely what you look like when you don’t breathe too; a curious mind/body trick combo that is played on us. Anyway – the remedy is so simple it’ll make you scream. It is to BREATHE! Take several deep breaths, and I mean deep, before you are even introduced, and all the way up to the podium, stage, or front of class. Not only will this serve as a great way to relax, it will short-circuit any desire to just keep talking and gives you all the oxygen you need to start confidently.
- TALK FROM EXPERIENCE! No, this doesn’t mean that you need a PHD in any subject you want to speak about; it means REHEARSE. The more that you rehearse, day-dream, and plan your actions – the more likely it is that when you get up there for real, your brain will go in to a comfortable ‘memory’ mode and recall what has already passed rather that attempting to ‘wing it’ resulting in the pathological urge of ‘fight or flight’. Memory and recall are powerful friends, overriding any sense of nerves (which, after all, is just excitement about that which is not known). It means that you can build a rich inner sanctuary where you speak fluently, comfortably laugh-off your mix-up with your words, and charmingly invite questions from your audience any time you choose. Invoking this same state can deliver the same outcomes in real time – and will serve you well on your path to presenting greatness.
- SMILE! And let yourself show your passion. When people focus intently, which is what you are asking your audience to do by presenting to them, they will instinctively mirror that which they perceive. Can you help but laugh when you hear someone else giggling? Ever tried to suppress that automatic yawn when you see someone else do it? Point made then, so SMILE – if this subject is important, then it is important to let it show; and your audience will soon be bathing in a synaptic bath of serotonin that YOU have created.
There are lots of hints and tips, with even gurus like Seth Godin frightening each and every one of us out of ever contemplating a bullet point. The bottom line is – we can be clever, and subtle, and ultra-cool; but most of us still respond to simple, calm, knowledgeable and articulate presentation.
Charisma can come later.
Let’s get the basics right for now.