There will be, at some point in your life, a need to present. This may be in the form of your job or voluntary role. Even before you secure that position you present yourself for an interview. Whilst all the best-laid preparations ensure that you are clear on the subject matter presentation anxiety can still hold you back.
Here are my top tips for ensuring your presentation goes as smoothly as possible:
1. Get out of your comfort zone
Make it a goal to practice your presentation skills using a subject you know well. It is a good idea to role-play using friends and family as your audience. This will help you to relax and enhance your communication skills whilst not being under pressure.
2. Do your research
Being prepared is the best way to reduce anxiety levels. Allow yourself plenty of time to research the facts and make note of reputable resources so that you can direct your audience to them should they ask a question you do not know the answer to.
3. Save, save and save again
Always save your work in more than one location. It is always good practice to email yourself the documents should anything go awry, that way you will always have a copy of your work.
4. Work through the distractions
Distractions are unfortunately an unavoidable thing when it comes to presentations and knowing how to handle them will help to reduce your anxiety. People will always turn up late, talk, wander in and out and generally cause disruptions. The key to managing those situations is to continue with your presentation and act like they aren’t happening.
5. Get plenty of practice
The more you run through your presentation the more relaxed and confident you will feel. Invite people you know to hear your presentation. Practising in front of a mirror or imaginary audience will also help. Sometimes recording yourself to playback can be useful in managing time and pace.
6. Anticipate audience questions
This is the part I fear the most. Doing extra preparation including having resources to signpost those who require more information is always a safe bet. Should you be asked something out of your remit simply ask for their details and you can email them later.
7. Know where you are going
Have a trial run before the day to ensure you know how to get there, the parking and how long it will take. Another step I have taken is to see the venue, so you are aware of the scale of the room and the potential numbers attending. By doing this you will also lower anxiety levels because you will be familiar with the location.
Follow these steps and you will notice a reduction in your anxiety and stress levels.