Presentations are always an important part of being a business owner, be it for a trade show, webinar, conference, or sales demonstration. If they scare you to death, don’t worry; you’re not alone. In fact, up to 74 percent of people suffer from speech anxiety (glossophobia), meaning that they have a tough time getting in front of a crowd and showing off their knowledge. Despite this fact, you can kick glossophobia to the curb by being proactive about your preparations.
Step 1: Define Your Audience
You might recall reading about sociolinguistics at some point or another. This is the study of how different people speak to one another. For example, if you tried to speak to your doctor the same way you speak to a toddler, they’ll probably really, genuinely think that something’s wrong with you. Similarly, you might speak to your clients differently than you do to your leads and competitors.
Thus, knowing your audience is one of the key elements of preparing for your next presentation. Do some research and come up with a definition for who you’re marketing to. Include information that they’ll want to hear, and speak to them in an appropriate manner. It’s important to establish a meaningful connection with them while presenting.
Step 2: Present Valuable Content
The point of any good presentation is to offer valuable content. This means engaging the audience with information that is relevant to their current situation. Consider what your audience wants to do with the information you present, and what you want them to walk away with. By providing deep, enriched content that’s tailored specifically for your audience, along with practical knowledge that can easily be implemented, you can offer your audience more than enough reason to buckle down and pay attention. Plus, if you don’t put adequate thought into the preparation process, your audience will be able to tell.
Step 3: Practice Makes Perfect
One way to beat glossophobia is to practice, practice, practice. You can never practice too much. After you’ve thoroughly researched and composed what you’d like to present, it’s time to ensure you can present it in a clear, organized fashion. Once you’re familiar with the content, you can rehearse in front of a mirror rather than a live audience. This helps you work on your facial and other physical expressions.
Once you’re comfortable rehearsing on your own, you should rope some of your colleagues or coworkers in. This helps you get a feel for how your presentation will sound in front of a live audience. Besides that, it gives you a chance to get some constructive feedback. You can then change your approach accordingly.
Step 4: Examine Successful Presentations
The quality of your presentation is going to be based on both the amount of personality you display, and your comfort level speaking to a group of people. In order to find your voice, consider reviewing presentations of those you admire from within your industry. Try to imitate them and borrow elements from their on-stage behavior. Pay attention to their use of humor, vocal inflection, facial expressions, and other non-verbal characteristics that could enhance your communication skills. If you don’t know where to start looking, visit www.ted.com, where you’ll find unlimited amounts of amazing speakers presenting on an array of extremely interesting and relevant topics.