Posted in give it a go, powerpoint, training, Uncategorized

I was a PowerPoint Chicken

Preparing for that first big presentation is a mine field of elements. There are many things you can control –  you can ensure you have properly working hardware, you can choose the best presentation software for you, and spend weeks researching and putting the slides together just right.
But HOW do you make YOU ready?
Here is the story of how I prepared for that first big presentation.

chickensketchsharon It was a few years ago. I was incredibly nervous. I had no problem with the tech; I’ve always been pretty good with PowerPoint and Keynote. I’d all my notes in the notes view and printed out just in case. But I just couldn’t speak back then. I hated being in front of people. I would sweat and stumble and panic and talk a million miles a second just so it would be over faster!   I’d gotten several pieces of advice on how to prepare. One was to know my notes inside out so I could say them without stumbling and focus on slowing down. I had to get used to people looking at me as well. So I grabbed my ipod and notes and walked around saying them over and over again. I must have looked very silly walking a big loop around Grand Canal Dock talking to myself (these days’ most people would assume you were on a phone call, back then, not so much). I did that for a few evenings and slowly I got there. I stopped minding people looking at me (quite so much) and I stopped speaking as fast. I’ve since heard a story about a little girl who had the same fears before a talk so she dressed up in a dinosaur costume to get used to the stares. She’s far braver than I was! I presented a few days after that. I was still incredibly nervous and had cold sweats but I didn’t stumble or stutter or pause so it at least looked like I knew what I was doing and that’s the most I could have hoped for.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share on presenting? How did you get beyond your nerves? I’d love to hear your comments.


a bit of a shutter bug with a soft spot for antique cameras

4 thoughts on “I was a PowerPoint Chicken

  1. Your post made me think of this post by Hugh Laurie, essentially he says, don’t wait until you’re ready, do things, doing things develops the skills you need to “feel ready”.
    Courage is a strange thing, often people have told me that I’m brave, and I didn’t think I was, because what I was doing felt natural for me. These days, I realise there are lots of things I’ve done before I was ready, and I was nervous doing them. Having done them, I’m less nervous and more ready and prepared to do them.
    I hate not being as good as I could be, and it takes courage for me, but I strive for perfect, celebrating each little step along the way, reminding myself that “Done is better than perfect”.

  2. Wish i could give you any valuable advice, i would just start talking without much preparation.
    But then, when PowerPoint made it’s first steps into this world i had to -more or less- guide my pupils. Without knowing much about the technical part, i prepared them by saying “It’s not about you, it’s about what you are showing, about what you want to get across”.

  3. When starting out and accepting that you have knowledge of the subject matter at hand, it is really helpful when you have a friend, mentor, and boss who believes in you, builds you up, and takes every one of those initial steps with you. You still have to deliver but it is so much easier when your biggest fan is the one who you are responsible to. When you have this there is nothing you can’t accomplish. You won’t even know how amateurish you may have been at the start but with helpful and gentle guidance you will get there, still with your biggest fan in tow – even though you may on occasion be going solo, they’ll be there with you every step of your journey.

    So dear reader might I request of you that whenever you get an opportunity to be “someone who may need it”‘s biggest fan, take that opportunity with both hands, tell them how great they are and help them become better than they can possibly be – because it’s never just about you. And if you do, then maybe you’ll also experience the boost that comes from being involved in someone’s growth, the reward of seeing and being part of someone else’s development – whether a little or a lot. It’s a really good feeling.

    1. You’re absolutely right, it makes a world of difference to have someone as your cheerleader. And to give that back to someone else is a great feeling!
      The moment I refer to in the post was a long time ago. I since had a peer sit at the back of some of my sessions, with clear “here’s what you did right, here’s what needs adjusting” until we reached a point where we were both happy. It had a MASSIVE impact on how well I presented. I’ve not had opportunity yet to give someone else that, but looking forward to paying it forward.
      Thanks for the comment and thoughts Tommy

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