The room is packed, your PowerPoint is loaded and ready to go, everything is in place and your mind races with the information you are about to present. Presenting to groups of all sizes is not an uncommon task for many business professionals, but the key to success is to have your proverbial ducks in a row and offering information in a way that sticks with your participants long after the meeting is over.
Do the Prep: Nothing boosts confidence more than feeling prepared. Review your information, practice it before the big day, watch other great presenters on YouTube or TED Talks, and even observe PowerPoint ideas on sites like SlideShare. If you are new to the speaking world, you should understand preparation for public speaking events should begin weeks, even months, in advance-not a few days before.
Check Your Equipment: Nothing is worse than having everything in place, only to discover one of the main tools of your presentation isn’t working properly. Arrive early and test your PowerPoint projector, laser pointer and even the “clicker” that advances your slides. This way, if there are possible equipment problems, you can address them before your presentation instead of fumbling around at the very beginning.
Say No to Stage Fright: If you find yourself with a sudden attack of butterflies just before your presentation is about to begin, put those nerves to good use. Studies have shown that the jitters can actually help presenters focus on the task at hand and even amp up energy. Also mindfully reminding yourself to smile and relax is another way to keep nerves at bay.
Stay Focused: When all eyes are on you and participants are hanging on your every word is not the time to get Shiny Object Syndrome. Strive to stay focused on your presentation and eliminate as many potential distractions as possible. Keep the doors to your venue closed, turn off your personal devices (Smartphones) and keep your notes handy and organized.
Engagement is Gold: One of the main objectives with presentations is audience engagement. Audiences who remain attentive and engaged throughout the presentation are more likely to retain and value the information presented. Using “I” statements, not presenting in a rehearsed “I’m-just-reading-off-my-slides” way, speaking to your audience instead of at them, and interacting with your audience are all great ways to stay connected with your participants in a positive way.