Some of the smartest people in the world have serious issues giving presentations. If you have ever felt anxious while presenting in front of other people, you could probably pick up a tip or two from this post.
Presentation anxiety has been a challenge for public speakers since the beginning of humanity. As long as humans have had a spoken language, we have had speakers lead groups of other people, mainly because of their professional presentation skills. Being able to present one’s ideas to a group and have that group agree and follow your recommendations is a skill that needs to be developed.
You may have heard that you need to practice public speaking, but let’s be honest – speaking to an empty room is never the same as presenting to a group of people, whether it be 5 listeners or 5,000,000. The following tips should make your next presentation more smooth and effective.
- Relax. Unless you are the President of the United States, your life will not depend on your upcoming presentation or speech. You are lucky that this is not ancient Roman times when you could be executed for saying the wrong thing. If you are relaxed you will be able to relate better to your audience, who is probably not anxious or really thrilled to hear your presentation.
- Prepare. It is difficult to relax unless you have adequately prepared. If you do not find value in presenting to an empty room, then try presenting to a friend or to a video camera. Each source will give you valuable feedback on how to improve.
- Look Above the Eyes. We picked up this trick while on the speaking circuit across the United States. If you look down at the floor or up at the sky, your audience will probably stop listening. If you stare into someone’s eyes, you and that person might get freaked out. Instead, look slightly above and slightly beyond someone’s eye line. They will think you are looking at them, and this will increase attention without causing any disruptions to your speech.
Relax, prepare, and don’t stare. These three things will yield great results for your next speech or presentation.