In our last post, we spoke of how to prepare for every office presentation that you’ve ever dreaded. Research, effort and practice can make a molehill out of any mountain. With the right guidance and consistent work, you will realise that your fear of speaking in front of your colleagues during meetings, or while presenting, has drastically reduced. Following the tips from the previous post on how to prepare for a presentation, here is our next offering, to help you present your idea without any fear or hesitation!
- Practice! Practice! Practice!
This tip carries over from the last post, but once you have the structure of your presentation ready, practice until you can practice no more. Practice not just your own work, but also the answers that you have worked out for potential questions, and ways to link any deviations back to the topic at hand. Another trick that I picked up through my presentations at work was to keep a few backup questions prepared to ask the listeners. They work to keep the presentation interactive, and also as a backup measure in case you forget for a moment what you have to say next!
A good presentation is one that is a two-way process. Everyone has struggled to stay awake through a presentation where the speaker just drones on and on. Don’t be that speaker. Divide your speech into parts, and punctuate it by inviting questions or asking your colleagues what they think. This will keep everyone engaged with the conversation and will help you understand how your ideas are being consumed so you know what to elaborate on and what to skim through.
These are basics that most people in professional setups already know, but keep them in mind to stay at the top of your presentation game. Reach early and do a tech-check if you have a PPT or any audio-visual elements to present. This will ensure the meeting isn’t delayed on your account. Look sharp. Know whom you are presenting to so that you aren’t in for any surprises. Keep your body language positive.
- Pace and Face:
A presentation is not a marathon. Do not speed like a train when speaking. Go slow, pause where you need to ensure impact, so that your bosses, colleagues and juniors have a chance to absorb what you’re saying. Smile often, and if you feel like running out of time, do not suddenly jump to a faster pace. They are your colleagues, and you can ask if you can take some more time if necessary. A little bit of humour is your friend too, depending on the formality of the presentation.
I know, we all hear this a hundred times when we are nervous, and hearing it never actually helps, but it is true, nonetheless. Take a deep breath, smile, and then go ahead, pausing where you need to. You’ve prepared for this, you know your stuff. A momentary feeling of nervousness is normal, don’t fault yourself for it. Your language is in your control too, and remember, everyone that you are presenting to has been through the same- they understand. Don’t fear their judgement.
Presentations at work, especially in English can be tricky to navigate, but with these pointers in mind, you can surely take your skills up a notch. For even more practice, head to LearnEd for one of our business communication courses!