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.
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.