3 tips to help you deliver a killer presentation

Got a presentation gig coming up? Evolve’s Founder and Public Speaking Coach, Donna Hubbard, talks us through some of her top 3 tips to help you deliver a killer presentation and smash the fear aside.

Public speaking in any form can be remarkably nerve-racking. Those jitters and worries about how your content is going to land can often lead to doubting yourself and your material. And that’s okay; it’s completely normal!

Take Matt, for example.

He’s been asked to deliver a presentation at the end of year company conference. It’s a huge opportunity for him to raise his profile in the business and he knows he needs to kill it!

Fast forward to the day before the event, and rather than feeling buoyant with confidence, Matt is weighed down by self-doubt. Instead of heading to the gym after a long day at work, he’s on his tenth run-through, talking to himself and his warmup audience – the walls of his small home office and Betsy, the very loyal but slightly bewildered French Bulldog.

Matt had hoped by this point in his career that his fear of public speaking had abated, but truth is, it’s never really gone away, and the higher the stakes, the more out of control he feels.

Sound familiar? You and Matt aren’t alone. Research has shown that around 75% of people suffer from various forms of glossophobia, otherwise known as the fear of public speaking, making it more common than the fear of heights or even snakes!

We may not all be able to deliver the next Gettysburg Address, but fortunately there are several things you can do before your next presentation gig to help settle your nerves and nail it.

Step 1: Simplify your material, to amplify your material

We often make life harder for ourselves by trying to say to much. It’s accidental but oh so easy to give yourself too much work to do, which leads to your brain feeling overwhelmed. If you’ve found yourself at this point of your presentation, you may notice that it’s no longer about communicating and more of a memory challenge instead.

This is where the phrase ‘less is more’ kicks in!

There’s only so much your audience can digest, so take the pressure off yourself and just focus on three key messages that all link together with a common thread. Ideally, you want to feel so connected to your content that it sits in your implicit memory rather than your explicit memory.

Implicit memory vs. explicit memory: What’s the difference?

Both are types of long-term memory. The difference is that information you remember unconsciously and effortlessly (e.g. recalling how to drive your car or remembering the lyrics to your favourite song) is known as implicit memory, while information that you have to consciously work to remember (e.g. items on your shopping list or names and locations of countries on a map) is referred to as explicit memory.

Step 2: Enjoy it

Above all else, any speaking gig is an incredible opportunity and there’s a reason you’re there. If you enjoy it, your audience will too. The great news is you have control over the content you deliver, so creating something that you have an interest in will increase how much you are looking forward to being there. This passion will rub off on your audience and can help to naturally create a good energy in the room.

Step 3: Own any ‘I’m human’ moments

Even seasoned professionals make mistakes, so don’t be disheartened if you do too. In fact, it’s these human moments that will make your audience warm to you! We humans seek authenticity and realness in one another more than anything else; it creates trust, empathy and engagement. If you think back to a time where you were in an audience and a speaker made a mistake, did it really have the negative impact we all fear? Or were you actually sat there willing them on?

People aren’t moved by robots, so if you slip up or forget your lines for a moment, nobody will mind. Be honest about it, own it and then focus back on why you are there and the message you really want to deliver. A mistake may feel like an eternity to you, but your audience will soon forget it. They’ll be much more interested in what you have to say next.

Remember, you’re about to do something awesome!

If you’ve found yourself in Matt’s position, it’s important to keep in mind why you’re doing your presentation in the first place, what your expertise is and how you can help your audience with the content and insights you’re delivering. After those 20 or so minutes, you’ll have grown as a person professionally and personally, so it’s an all-gain situation. Just take a deep breath and enjoy the ride… because for you, anything is possible.

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” 

Mary Kay Ash

Evolve’s Authentic Impact public speaking course is helping individuals just like you to discover their real and remarkable speaker within. If you’d like to find out how we can support you or your organisation, please contact the team: [email protected].

The Evolve Company - Coaching in Hampshire

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