There are few things people get more nervous and anxious about than presenting. Whether it’s before 5 people or 5,000, there’s a lot you can do to calm your nerves aside from just being prepared. For this reason, we thought we’d together some of our favourite advice from across the web to help you through the next one.
1. 10-20-30 Rule – This is a slideshow rule offered by Guy Kawasaki. This rule states that a powerpoint slide should have no more than 10 slides, last no longer than 20 minutes and have no text less than 30 point font. He says it doesn’t matter whether your idea will revolutionize the world, you need to spell out the important nuggets in a few minutes minutes, a couple slides and a several words a slide. (Source: Lifehacker)
2. Be honest – A lot of people present to the audience what they want to hear, instead of what they need to hear. Make sure you tell the truth even if they don’t want to hear it because they will respect you for that and it will make you more human. (Source: Quicksprout)
3. Not so much a tip as a law - Give everyone at least one piece of paper. A piece of paper is a record, an artifact from your presentation. People can use that artifact to help recall the details of the presentation, or better yet to tell others about it. (Source: Computer Graphics Lab of the University of Waterloo)
4. Speeches are About Stories – If your presentation is going to be a longer one, explain your points through short stories, quips and anecdotes. Great speakers know how to use a story to create an emotional connection between ideas for the audience. (Source: Lifehacker )
5. Save the best for last. People will make an assessment about your performance in the first two minutes, so you have to start strong. But you have to finish even stronger. People remember most the first part and the last part of your presentation. The middle stuff is important, of course, but blow it at the start or at the end and all may be lost. This is why you have to rehearse your opening and your closing so much. And save your strongest stuff for the end. In Jobs’s case he saved the MacBook Air for last—the 4th thing he wanted to talk about. (Source:6 Presentation tips from a Steve Jobs keynote)
6. No Wimpy Words Allowed. Wimpy words diminish credibility and the power of a presentation. “I think…” is wimpy. We know you think it, because you’re saying it – so just get to the point. “We believe…” is wimpy too. It’s OK to state assumptions (and it’s even OK during a Q&A session, for example, to admit you don’t know the answers to certain questions), but cut the wimpy words. Another classic, “What we’re trying to do…” You’re not trying, you are. Simple as that. Even if you haven’t even started your business, you’re already doing it, not just trying to do it. Yoda was right about that one.
Removing the wimpy words from your presentation is hard. They’re often ingrained in our speech. But that leads me to point #3… (Source: Institagator Blog)
7. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it. (Source:Toastmasters)
8. “That’s a Good Question” – You can use statements like, “that’s a really good question,” or “I’m glad you asked me that,” to buy yourself a few moments to organize your response. Will the other people in the audience know you are using these filler sentences to reorder your thoughts? Probably not. And even if they do, it still makes the presentation more smooth than um’s and ah’s littering your answer. (Source: Lifehacker)
9. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers. (Source: Toastmasters)
10. Don’t rely on technology. It will fail. (Source: Huffington Post)
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