Presenting is a reality that most of us must face. Although presenting is nerve-wracking and stressful, keeping the three P's in mind will help you get through those difficult presentations with relative comfort and ease.

Preparation
Behind virtually every memorable presentation is a good deal of planning, preparation and attention to detail.

Once you've pulled your program together, check it for flow. Confirm that the logical sequence is clear in the program and handouts – not just in your mind.
Make sure there are no spelling errors. It always helps to have another pair of eyes read through every slide.
Play back the show in a setting similar to the one in which it will be delivered. If you have included multimedia content, run the show on equipment that's identical to what you'll use during the actual presentation.

Practice
In addition to a great slide show, an effective presentation demands good delivery.

Rehearse your presentation several times. If you're presenting to a large audience, it's important to practice aloud, standing up and in the way you plan to deliver it.
Try to perform at least one run-through in the room where you'll be presenting.
Timing is critical to delivery, so practice your pace using a stop watch.
Don't read directly off your slides or try to memorize your whole speech. Instead, use the key points in your slides to guide you through your discussion. This way, your presentation will be more natural and interesting for the audience.

Performance
Think of your delivery as an actual on-stage performance. Ask yourself, "If I were an audience member, what would I like to see in a presentation? What would I consider a good presentation?"

Like an actor, your movements should be deliberate; don't amble around. Your movements between the podium and your audience should be smooth and confident.
If you want to use technology during a presentation, be sure you're comfortable with it before your presentation begins. There's nothing more stressful than fumbling with a piece of equipment during an important presentation.
Stay aware of what your hands are doing during your presentation. Keep your hands out of your pockets! It's good to use your hands to emphasize what you're saying, but try not to over-gesture since it will distract your audience.
In between thoughts, avoid saying "Um…". This is a bad habit from which many people suffer. Instead, remain quiet, gather your thoughts and continue speaking when you're ready.
Try to convey an overall spirit of confidence and, most importantly, try to enjoy your performance!

1. From CyberMeetings by James L. Creighton and James W. R. Adams 1998 by AMACOM, INC


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