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Most public speakers admit to having stage-fright before and during presentations. Perhaps, what differentiates the professional from the amateur is that the professional is able to manage anxiety in such a way that the audience sees him/her as a confident and efficient speaker. There are people who seldom make oral presentations and would rather not do it all. But we all have to face our giants sometime. Below are effective pointers that will enable you manage anxiety and have a successful presentation.

Black man giving a presentation

  1. You must plan your presentation. This includes learning about your location and audience, coming up with clear-cut objectives, choosing appropriate visual aids (e.g. PowerPoint, posters, OHP, simulation, etc), and preparing notes for use during the presentation. Visual aids will certainly enhance your presentation. 
  2. You need to decide on your presentation structure. Typically, the structure should be Introduction/Opening, Main Points/Body, Conclusion/Closing, and then questions. In some cases, there is no provision for question and answer. Also, you need to answer the following questions: Would you like to open with a simulation or role play and conclude with a rehash of main points? Would you like to accept questions as the presentation progresses or at the end of the presentation?
  3. Rehearse Entire Presentation. You need to rehearse alone and in front of a make-believe audience. Your colleagues, friends, and classmates can serve as audience and give you feedback. If the presentation allows for a Q&A session, encourage your ‘fake’ audience to ask questions. Their feedback will help you improve, for example, time management, content, body language, and prepare for Q&A period. Remember: Sufficient practice is a key factor to a successful presentation.
  4. There are many ways of handling stage-fright during oral presentation. Established ways to successfully manage anxiety associated with oral presentation include ensuring that you sufficiently practice before the actual presentation, beginning your presentation by taking a deep breathe, smiling at your audience, maintaining eye contact with your audience. Some people have said that drinking water just before they begin or thinking of the audience as friendly helps them to relax. You need to discover and implement what works for you. Click here for more.
  5. To ensure a successful presentation, you need to find ways of establishing rapport with your audience. Examples in place include, making eye contact (not just with one or two members of your audience) by allowing your eyes to make contact with as many people as possible in the room. Also, by using language and illustration that are at the level of your audience, you will carry them along. You should also remember to be courteous and appreciative.
  6. Aim for a powerful presentation. Of course, you lay the foundation for success by engaging in series of practice sessions. Begin your presentation with an attention-grabber. Then explain benefits of presentation to audience and give an outline of content. If there will be Q&A time, explain the pattern you will follow. If no Q&A, inform your audience. To keep your delivery interesting and on target, limit your main points to 3-5. Make time for an effective/impressive conclusion. You may conclude by summarizing main points or proffering suggestions for future research.
  7. How successful you are in handling Q&A session impacts on the entire presentation. You will be ready for this part of your delivery if you adequately rehearsed, practiced answering questions and researched answers. However, you should prepare what you’ll say if you don’t have a ready answer to a question.

If you have questions arising from this article, feel free to raise them with me and I’ll get back to you. Have a lovely time presenting! Click Here For More Information

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