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Public Speaking Tips
- Speak slowly but clearly as this makes it easier for your audience to understand. Try not to rush through your presentation to get it ‘over and done with’.
- Make eye contact with different members of your audience and vary who you look at. Avoid looking or staring at individuals for too long, or seeking out your friends amongst the audience.
- Try to speak as fluidly and fluently as possible. Stay calm and take deep breaths through your nose if you are nervous. Use changes of slide or moving from one point to another to pause and collect your thoughts.
- Don’t worry too much if you make mistakes or mispronounce something. Correct yourself slowly, calmly and confidently then keep on going.
- If you're concerned about showing visible signs of nerves, using a folder with see-through slips to insert your notes into can help so that you're holding something sturdier than paper alone. The audience will not be able to see your hands shaking now.
- Equally, mistakes do happen, even to the best of us. Your audience can sense your nerves and this can create tension between you and the audience. If something goes wrong, if you panic and become flustered and stressed, those feelings can cause tension and anxiety in the audience too. Try to relieve this tension by making a joke out of it - the best defense for a mistake is humor and this will bring ease to your audience too, along with building rapport. For example, if the PowerPoint is not working, or technology is failing, laugh about it and use it as a way to relate to your audience, as the chances are, we've all been there and had technology mishaps.
- Never read directly from your notes or read a completely scripted speech, this will make your presentation seem wooden and alienate you from your audience.
- You might want to use prompt cards with brief notes on them to help you remember the details of your presentation. Make sure you write clearly and in large enough print so the cards are easy to read. Number your cards so you can identify the sequence easily. If you are using PowerPoint, you could print out a handout of your slides and write notes in red or blue pen next to each slide.
- Before the presentation, practice in front of a friend, colleagues, a mirror or video yourself. If possible, get feedback on your style and approach as well as the content of your presentation. This will give you more confidence for the actual day.
Delivering great presentations
These videos from LinkedIn Learning address ways in which you may overcome the fear of public speaking and present confidently.
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Giving a Great Presentation
Good presentations are all about the planning, but how you present yourself in front of people is also really important. In this video we look at how to deliver your amazing ideas to others.