Knowing how to deliver an idea is beneficial, no matter what line of business you are in. But if you’ve tried everything in the books to improve your presentation skills and are still met with the kind of anxiety that causes you to break out in a cold sweat and stumble over your carefully planned words, it’s time to try a different approach.
Remember, speaking in front of people is a skill, not an innate ability. Here are 10 tips to help you nail your next presentation.
- Deconstruct What Great Speakers Do
The internet gives us access to countless videos of the greatest speakers of our time. Deconstruct their speech by highlighting their approach, tactics and execution. Then identify each speaking skill that was demonstrated, study it, and then model it based on video. Use the video to compare, contrast, critique and correct. Then repeat, track and speak until it’s mastered.
- Focus On Your Audience, Not Yourself
Remember that your audience is there to obtain and learn the information you are providing. They are vested in your success and excited about what you have to say or they wouldn’t be there. By focusing on them, and what you plan to share, your focus becomes the content, not how you look or sound.
- Know Your Stuff So You Can Let Go And Be Yourself
Practice your material so much that it becomes truly a part of you. Because the quality of a talk isn’t the content; it’s how well you connect with your audience. Most people stay stuck in their material rather than be truly present in the conversation with the audience. And rest assured, it is a two-way conversation. It is an energy exchange. So know your stuff, and then let go and connect.
- Get Specific About What You Need To Improve
Get specific on what your weakness is by asking for targeted feedback. Do you stutter? Rely on slides? Appear nervous? Once you know what the problem is, video yourself making a presentation and focus on the issue at hand. Ideally, get a trusted partner or coach to review the video with you. You can then attack the problem without spending unneeded time shooting in the dark.
- Create a Speaking Avatar
We create a strong mental image of ourselves that runs in a loop. In this case, that image might be “I’m a poor presenter.” I get my clients to create an alter ego that is the type of presenter they dream of being. In other words, create a You 2.0. Fully imagine and visualize it — maybe give it a different name. When it’s time to present, have your avatar take the stage
- Accept Constructive Criticism And Apply It
Practicing is the best way to improve your speaking skills. A sure-fire way to enhance your presentations skills is to practice in front of people who are skilled at speaking and are willing to tell you what you need to know and do. To improve upon what you’ve read and learned, you must be willing to accept constructive criticism and apply it
- Get Into Your Body More
A frequent experience in speaking in front of a group is to lose connection with your body. Good speakers are grounded and sense a strong connection to their core. Practicing some specific exercises can help you gain body awareness and more control of your inner energy flow. Though always relevant in daily life, this technique is essential for speakers
- Explore Your Self-Talk
Presenting is an intensely personal experience. Start with what’s inside, or you’ll just be using Band-Aids to treat a deeper issue. First, explore your self-talk, which for so many of us is profoundly negative. Gently pause those negative thoughts, and explore the positive ones. What do you have to offer? Why should people listen to you? Get comfortable inside first, and the rest will follow.