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Presentation Tips and Public Speaking Tips

Barbara's Top Ten Tips


Regardless of the situation- if you have an audience of one or 1000, if your boss is having you give a presentation just to see if you can give a presentation, if you're interviewing for a job, if you're introducing yourself- it's always about helping your audience in some way. It's not about you.

Don't worry about what your audience is thinking about you. They aren't nearly as interested in you as they are in themselves. It's a busy complicated world, and everyone has things to deal with-family, job, crises, deadlines, office politics. Maybe they'd think about you if they didn't have so many things demanding their attention. But that's not the case. So they're not thinking about you.

Don't focus on getting all your facts right. Focus on helping the audience get what they need in order to move forward. That shift in focus will cause you to think in terms of the bigger picture, thereby ensuring that you actually remember the facts you need. You put the presentation in context of it's relevance to all concerned rather than the narrow focus on how you may look.

Before doing anything about organizing your presentation, put yourself in audience mode. Look at the presentation from their perspective. To do that, you'll probably have to ask questions-of yourself, of some of your audience members, of the person requesting the presentation. Taking time to pinpoint the audience's focus will help you organize more quickly and deliver the presentation more comfortably.

Be cautious about using presentation software to organize your presentation. Used as designed it will propel you into a less audience centered presentation, wordier slides and probably more slides than you need. Before touching the software, know your audience, be clear on your subject, and identify the end result you want from this presentation. Knowing the end result (your objective, what you want to accomplish, what you want the audience to do), is vital to a successful, dynamic presentation. If you don't want the audience to do anything, maybe you should consider e-mailing the information instead of presenting it.

Don't waste time worrying about needing to work on your presentation if you don't have time to work on it right then. You'll weaken your effectiveness on what you are working on and only increase your anxiety regarding the presentation. Once you give it your full focus, you'll move right ahead on it. Trust that, and refuse to give in to the temptation to worry. It's self defeating.

Immediately upon receiving word about your upcoming presentation, take a few minutes to focus on what you want to accomplish with it. (And ask the person who delivers the assignment for any information they have about the audience, and the intended purpose and outcome of the presentation.) Fifteen minutes of immediate focus to determine who will be in the audience, (what they want and need to know, how they feel about the subject, etc.) as well as what you want them to do as a result of your presentation, will ensure that you can forget about it until you have sufficient time to think about it and do it justice.

Don't nurture nervousness. It's tempting to allow the fear to fill your thought. Instead, every time you feel anxious, remind yourself of the purpose of the presentation, and of the benefits of the message to your listeners. Thinking about your fears and possible visions of failure won't move the process along, nor do anything positive. There is a purpose and a benefit. Remember it.

Nervousness is a choice. You can choose to focus on your message and it's benefits to the listener or you can choose to focus on yourself and all the possible things that could go wrong. You have the power to make that choice.

The single most important thing you can do to make your presentation powerful and effective is to keep your mouth closed until your mind is in gear. Resist the urge to start speaking just because you're up in front or because you think the audience expects you to say something. You'll only say something you regret and make yourself feel out of control for the entire presentation. The silence will give you time to breathe and focus, and your audience will see you as credible.

For more information, contact:

Barbara Rocha and Associates

PO Box 60521, Pasadena, California 91116

(626) 792-8075

View the Other Articles
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    1 on 1 Interview
    Choose to Communicate Clearly
    Be Human Not Perfect
    Talking Plain and Simple
    When Things Go Wrong
    But they're all staring at me
    Don't Worry Be Happy
    Foiling Fear
    7 Ways to Make Speaking Easier
    Making a Difference
    Speaking Up for a Point

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