5 Easy Steps to Crush Your Next Presentation
If you're like me and have a role at work in which you find yourself leading a meeting or a business presentation, you'll find out the more you do it the better you become at it. Just like with anything, practice makes perfect! Thankfully I got all my practice in college as a Speech Communications Major (Thank you Webster University!) However, if you are someone who gets anxiety over public speaking, I've collected some great steps that have helped me along the way. Whether you are preparing for a job interview, have an upcoming presentation, pitching a business idea, or getting ready to lead a meeting, the following steps should help you knock it out the park.
1. Prepare Key Speaking Points -When I'm preparing my PowerPoint, I like to draft at least 5 to 10 key points that I think are important to touch on during the presentation. These speaking points could be segues or introductions to my PowerPoint slides. One thing to keep in mind with putting a PowerPoint together, you don’t want to include everything you’re going to say in it. Provide only some some of the top themes. Let your speaking points be your guide to conducting the presentation. This is an important step for me because that way I know I’ve touched on everything that I wanted to without forgetting an item. You never want to leave a presentation thinking “oh I should of said this or I wish I would of made this point” your key points will do it for you.
2. Have note cards - Put your key point on note cards. This becomes essential for the next step as you begin to practice the presentation that you have put together. The note cards are easy to carry around to practice and review at anytime and anywhere you have a moment to study them.
3. Dry run the presentation -Walk through the presentation by yourself or with someone. You want to become familiar with what you're presenting as much as possible, to where you won’t need your note cards. The more practice you put in will allow it to feel natural just as if you were speaking with friends or family. Then to get even more comfortable do the actual presentation in front of a friend or family member and get their feedback. Be open to constructive criticism-this will allow you a chance to get it right before doing it in front of your target audience.
4. If possible, schedule the meeting or presentation as early as possible- Don’t wait until later in the day. If possible knock out the presentation or meeting first thing in the morning. I don’t know about you but the wait gives me anxiety than the actual presentation. There’s no reason to present or meet later in the day. For example, if you are not prepared at 9 a.m. for a 2 p.m. meeting, then you are just not ready to present that day. The extra time leading up to the meeting is not going to help out a lot. Knock it out early so you don’t have to worry about it all day as the time approaches.
5. Stay confident - Research and make sure to stay confident about the subject you’re discussing or presenting. If you know the subject matter from front to end there isn’t any question or comments from the audience that should knock you off your game.
What steps do you take to perform a successful presentation? Sharing is caring!