Presenting from the front of the room can be scary. People are watching you and listening with baited breath. At least we hope they are!
THINGS TO DO
- Enunciate. Speak loudly and clearly, project your voice to the person at the back.
- Speak to bullet points.
- Have posture. Keep your chin up and look at your audience.
- Stay to your audience’s left of any presentation materials like a Powerpoint show or easel.
- Involve the audience
Make sure that you are speaking loudly and clearly. Don’t yell, use your diaphram to project your voice. If they can’t hear you at the back, they will start to fidget and become distracting. Speak to bullet points so that your words are more natural. This makes you more believable.
Have some posture. Literally. Keep your shoulders back and chin up. Your hands should be between your hips and shoulders, not flailing all over the place. Remember that your audience sees you as the professional. They don’t know what you don’t know. Your words have value and they are waiting for whatever wisdom you have to offer.
Stay to your audience’s left of any visuals. Most of us read left to right and will instinctively come back to you. You are, and should be, the centre of our attention.
Get the audience involved by asking questions and actually encouraging them to answer. I have seen presenters have the audience stand and then use elimination questions that allow them to sit back down. This can be used to provide a stretch and refocus them on you and your message.
WHAT NOT TO DO!
- yell or monotone
- read slides verbatim
- use inappropriate humour
- watch for nervous tics like “um”
- shoot from the hip (present without preparation)
- present something you don’t believe in
Consider finding someone to practice in front of that will be open and honest with you. Have them point out nervous tics like repeating words too much or maybe your posture. Then, practice, practice and practice some more!
Even people with years of practice at the front of the room get nervous. The best way to minimize your discomfort is to be prepared. Take the time to make sure your room is set up the way you want. Have a check list for people, materials and equipment. Be prepared for technology to fail. It will!
Most importantly, don’t try to be someone you are not. People will sense it and be less receptive to your message. If comedy isn’t natural for you, don’t go there. Have guest speakers you know can lighten up a room and let them do that.
Be prepared and have fun!
Make it a great day,
P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for a wonderful presentation instructor. I’m thankful for open minded people. I’m thankful for PowerPoint!
What are you thankful for today?