Public speaking can be intimidating, but the right preparation can make it easier, Keith Yamashita writes for Unstuck.
Yamashita is chair and founder of SYPartners, a leadership consulting firm. He argues that if you project confidence, your audience will never know you feel intimidated.
He recommends 12 ways to appear confident while presenting.
1: Don't write your remarks word-for-word.
Instead, spend time focusing on the flow of what you want to say, Yamashita suggests. You'll be able to connect more easily with your audience as a result.
2: Make your slides as brief as possible.
If you have a slide show, try to include as little as possible on each individual slide. It's better to have a greater number of slides than to have too much detail on a fewer number of slides, Yamashita writes.
3: Schedule sufficient practice time.
For every minute your speech will last, you should spend 10 minutes practicing beforehand, Yamashita suggests. This may seem like a lot, but "practice is serious business," he writes.
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4: Get started on the right foot.
Focus your practice time on the start of your speech and the start of each new section or slide. Transitions are the time when you're most at risk of your mind going blank. But if you hit your intros, the rest will flow smoothly.
5: Practice aloud.
You're going to give your speech out loud—so there's no reason to practice in your head, Yamashita writes. Get in front of a mirror, friends, a large room, or in the actual venue if you can get in early, he suggests.
6: Get comfortable with the room.
Every detail of the stage and its environment should be familiar to you before delivering your speech there, Yamashita writes. This includes things like the seating configuration, microphone, and how to plug in a laptop and start your presentation, if applicable.
7: Talk to the A/V person.
The person handling the audio and video for the venue should be your new best friend, Yamashita writes. If anything doesn't go smoothly, you'll already know who to contact for help.
8: Think about your first impression.
Do you want to walk directly to the stage? Shake hands along the way? Which greeting should you use? Each aspect of the initial moments of your time in front of the audience should be considered before the big-day, Yamashita writes.
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9: Change your mindset.
Assume that the audience is rooting for you and they want you to succeed. Don't apologize or act self-conscious in front of them, Yamashita writes.
10: Tell your audience what to do.
You have much more control over your audience than you think, Yamashita writes. He argues they'll reflect your mood back at you. For example, if you stand right in front of your slides, they'll lose interest, and if you tell a joke in too-serious a manner, they won't laugh at it, he writes.
11: Be prepared for anything.
No matter what happens while you're on stage, you should be prepared for it, Yamashita advises. This includes everything from your microphone cutting out to a fire alarm going off. If something does happen that can be resolved quickly, know who to ask for help and be sure to entertain your audience while the problem is being solved, Yamashita writes.
12: Show your personality.
Whatever emotions you're feeling will radiate to your audience as well. So if you feel excited and passionate about what you're saying, they will too. But don't try to hide it, because the more passion (or anger) you feel about the topic, the more your audience will see and know that you believe what you're selling, Yamashita writes (Yamashita, Unstuck, accessed 8/24)
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