If you struggle with the idea of a presentation in front of a group, there are things you can do to give you more confidence. In fact, here is a big secret that most people don’t know.
While your presentation skills are essential, there is something even more important to consider. It is how you prepare and what you do and think about well before you get to the podium that really counts.
It’s all about your planning and preparation.
I can always work with someone who is well prepared to make a speech better. But a slick presenter with bad content is almost always doomed to failure.
That’s why the first thing you need to do is understand 5 important factors:
- What is the purpose of the speech? Is it informational, or do you need to persuade your audience to a point of view? This will determine the research you need to do and how you will structure your presentation.
- How long is your presentation supposed to be? Nothing is worse than being told you are running over time when you haven’t made all your points. Plus, you will lose your audience’s attention if you go too long.
- Who is your audience? What do they know about the topic? If they understand the issues related to our subject, you don’t have to provide the basics. But if they don’t know much about the topic, you will lose them unless you describe things in detail and use jargon.
- Can you use visuals to support your speech? There is no point in creating visuals if you can’t use them. Plus, it will impact how you explain your topic and whether you can use statistics.
- Will others be speaking about the same topic before or after you?
Once you know these things, you can determine how much and what research you will need.
Once you finish that, you next need to narrow your topic. If you have ten minutes to explain climate change, you won’t be successful unless you narrow your topic. People who try to put too much information into their presentation won’t hold the attention of their listeners, and it will be mind-numbing. This is another reason why understanding both time constraints and what your audience already knows is key.
Think of your presentation as a dramatic movie or a TV show. It starts with a problem. The rest of the show is solving the mystery. Evidence is presented. It is investigated. It’s not a straight path to the solution. But after a lot of trial and error and a lot to consider before the drama is solved. It ends with release and often a reminder of everything that transpired.
This post is an excerpt from my online course, “Be A Better And More Confident Public Speaker.” If you lack the confidence to give a good presentation, this course will teach you tricks to overcome the fear of standing in front of a group, as well as how to research, organize, research, and make your presentation. I’ve been teaching my methods to college students for over 20 years. Let me help you. More info on the course is HERE.