Whether you practice in front of the mirror, your friends, family or pooch,
rehearsing really helps you polish your presentation skills and increase
your confidence for the big day. Even brides need a wedding rehearsal! I
can't stress it enough – practice and then practice some more!
Different clothes give us different energy levels, and if you can feel it,
so can your audience. Wear your favorite suit, press that crisp white shirt
and don't forget to coif your lid the morning of your big presentation.
It's a great confidence booster to look professional and feel good!
the Marbles in Your Mouth
What's more aggravating than trying to pay attention to a speaker who's
mumbling or "umming?" Record your presentation while you're practicing (see
tip #1) and then count the number of times you say "um" or "uh". Now try
it again and try to cut down on the stumbling. Elocution really pays off.
Your message is worth hearing so don't forget to breathe and project your
voice to the back of the room. To be on the safe side, request a lapel microphone
to ensure that the entire room will hear you.
Some well-timed hand movements or taking a few steps while you're speaking
can be a highly effective way to engage an audience's attention. No one
wants to look at a stiff board. But remember that you should be energetic
and professional when gesturing – not spastic or uncontrolled.
It may seem obvious that your PowerPoint slides should be clean and uncluttered
but you know firsthand that people often forget the golden rule: less is
more. As a rule of thumb, take a hardcopy of your slides and place them
on the floor. If you can't easily read the text on a slide, increase the
font size and cut down on the number of bullets per page.
A little bit of nervous energy is a good thing. Your natural physiological
reactions to think faster and talk with greater intensity will give the
perception of a high-energy presentation, so don't sweat it.
Telling a story is a great way to loosen up and engage your audience. The
best stories draw on real-life experiences that relate to your topic. An
unscripted story gives listeners a break from statistics and data and allows
them to internalize the message with a memorable scenario.
No one likes to fumble with cords and remote controls. The day before your
presentation, get a techie to show you how to use any unfamiliar presentation
tools and do a general walk-through of the equipment.
It Like It Is
Use conversational language and get to the point. Avoid jargon and large,
multisyllabic words because you'll come off pedantic (oops!) instead of
profound. Most people appreciate short, concise messaging so skip the flowery
prose and tell them what they need to know.