Have you faced or experienced this situation? Be it in your office, your business, your community get-together or alumni meets? What’s the feeling?
During my trainings or interactions with people, they have repeatedly told me that this is the most difficult situation to handle. They freeze, perspire, experience a thought jam and often go blank.
Is there a way out? Is there a method that can help unfreeze and win the moment?
First let me share the good news. Yes, there is a way out.
Now let me also share the not so good news. It requires some efforts that most people don’t put. This is for two reasons. One, even if they do not practice presentation skills, it does not hamper their routine and two we normally have a tendency of procrastinating the difficult things.
But if you are serious and want to take a step ahead in what is referred to as a ‘Life Skill’, here are 5 things that can help you.
Before we begin, please understand that freezing while giving presentation is not unusual. It happens to even the most seasoned presenters. This only indicates that our mind and body is preparing itself for the unusual situation.
- Topic :
Understand the topic so that you don’t miss the fundamental expectation of the presentation. After all your subsequent blocks are going to be built on this foundation. So getting this right is imperative.
2. Information gathering :
- Once you understand the topic, the next important step is to gather information about the topic that is relevant to the type of presentation. For example for the business presentation it could be data, business and activity updates. For non-business presentations it may be more experiences and issues. Please ensure that you gather more information than the time given to you for the presentation. This will give you choice of sequencing the points basis their importance and eliminate the non-important ones.
Once you prioritize the points, check for the presentation methodology. Are you going to use power point or only reference notes? MS office 2013 allows you to see the next slide when the first slide is displayed to the audience. This can help you in structuring your thoughts. If you are going to use only notes, use cue cards. If you are using power point, please keep your slides simple and de-cluttered.
4. Story :
Listening to stories is engaging. So your presentation must have stories. You may wonder how a business presentation can have stories. Do you recall one of the best business presentations you heard? What do you recollect? Do you recollect only numbers or stories associated with these numbers? Stories of how people achieved topline, bottom line, market share or dominant position in a territory.
So try and substantiate your presentation with real stories. It adds tremendous power to your presentation.
Remember the Rush Hour series by Jackie Chan? Chris Tucker who plays detective Jim Carter in the movie has portrayed an easy, jovial yet serious when required kind of character in the movie. Jim gives a high pitch pep talk to self and to inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) when requiring big fights with criminals.
My point is simple. Preparing yourself for presentations or talks is a big fight against your dis-empowering thoughts. Fight it like detective Jim and inspector Lee. Overcome the fear by regularly practicing the presentation skills. Give yourself a pep talk.
The first 4 points will give you the structure for preparing the presentation. The fifth point will give you energy and confidence to overcome the stage fright.
Let me know if these tips have helped you in your next presentation.