Public Speaking Preparation
It’s All in the Preparation
- 1) To feel confident you need to be really familiar with your material. Hesitancy and constant note-reading do not a good speech make!
- 2) Become familiar with the ‘signposts' of your speech and fully acquaint yourself with your content so that you can trust yourself to remember.
- 3) Many good presenters I know use mind-mapping to prepare and memorise speech notes. It’s quick and really aids memory and recall when you’re ‘up there doing it' Check out Tony Buzan’s classic ‘The Mind Map Book'
- 4) Rehearse out loud until you feel 'conversationally comfortable' about your material, as well as secure in the knowledge that it is ‘all there' It’s a very comfortable feeling when you know you can trust your unconscious mind to deliver. (This doesn’t mean you can’t have your notes handy just in case!) Remember that rehearsing out loud can feel artificial - it’s actually much more natural to present to an audience.
- 5) Take care of the ‘self management' side of things. If you feel overly nervous, or have had unpleasant experiences presenting before, consider getting an audio programme which helps you relax properly and prepare mentally for your presentation. Once the ‘back part' of your mind has a good template for how you want things to go, it’s much easier to present well. As I mentioned before, our Self Confidence Trainer has exercises and techniques specially for this. If you just want to relax, check out this relaxation tape.
The use of humour in presentations can help fix an idea in peoples' minds as well as illuminating unexpected perspectives. But it has to be done in an (apparently) spontaneous way.
If people remain silent in response to one of my little gems (very rare of course ;-) I may comment on the silence itself, which often gets a chuckle.
If you appear terrified when making a joke the audience may not respond as they would when you are relaxed because you are sending mixed signals: Your words say “I am being creative and funny" but your voice tone, body posture and other unconscious signals say “I am terrified!" and people rely much more on these unconscious elements of your communication.
Overall, I think humour is worth the risk because it makes a presentation more interesting and it’s a wonderful feeling when you make an audience roar with laughter!
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