How to Turn Fear into Fun When Making a Presentation

October 19, 2017 by  

If the thought of speaking in public strikes fear in your heart you are likely in the majority. If you do have to make a presentation and would like to actually enjoy the experience, the following tips will help you to do just that.

1. Preparation is the key to any excellent presentation. That means researching your topic online, in a library, or even by speaking with some experts in the field. Once you have gathered sufficient information, then you have to decide which pieces you will include in your presentation. Be sure to only keep the interesting elements and try to be specific and simple. Now you can easily analyze your content, design your presentation, decide on how you will deliver the content and ultimately will be able to gauge how you were received.

2. Practice, practice, practice. You need to know your material inside out, backwards, and in your sleep….do not memorize the presentation as when you are nervous, you will forget what you want to say. However, if you truly know your material, have passion for it, and know how you want to deliver it, the adrenalin boost your body will give you when you begin, will actually give you focus and clarity and once you get into your presentation, you will forget to be nervous as you will be too busy sharing your knowledge and expertise in interesting and engaging ways.

3. Attitude is everything! Decide that you are going to have fun and enjoy giving this presentation and then you will as it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for you. When you are positive, prepared, and well-versed in your materials you will be great! Remember, you set the tone for the room if you appear relaxed, confident and happy, you will put your audience at ease and so it will be easier to engage them and hold their attention.

4. Play “what if” before your presentation. Try to imagine what might happen during your presentation, what questions might be asked and then you can prepare what you will do in various situations and how you will answer any questions asked of you. Now, you may not come up with every eventuality, but you are human and no one expects you to be perfect, but you will feel more confident if you have gone over your ‘what ifs’ ahead of time. Even decide what you will do if you are asked a question for which you do not know the answer. Here is what I do: I ask the audience if anyone knows the answer….if no one helps me, I tell them that I do not know either, but anyone who wants to know can bring me their email address either at the break or at the end and will be happy to share what learn about that issue. Being honest is always the best policy and no one will fault you for not knowing but never “fudge” on an issue as someone will know the answer even if they do not tell you in front of their colleagues so do not make something up and you will lose credibility with your audience.

5. Arrive early. In this way, you can get set up and iron out any technical issues before you start. In addition, you will then have some time to “meet and greet” some of the attendees so that you will no longer be speaking to a room full of ‘strangers’. Rather you will now have spoken to several attendees so they now are more familiar with you and will likely be easier to engage and you can even bring some of your conversation into the session, which will also tie you more closely to the attendees.

6. Create an engaging start to your presentation. You only have about 2 minutes to grab the attention of your audience and if you do not do that you will be chasing them throughout your entire presentation. Use a good story, some shocking or interesting details, or a challenge to start off your session, this should make them sit up and take notice.

7. Finally, choose some meaningful way to end your presentation. You can have the attendees tell you what they are taking away, or what they liked best or you can provide a short summary of the key takeaways. Personally, I like to end with a short story or poem that relates to the content.

So, if you wish you have fun with your presentation instead of fearing to speak in front of an audience, try out the tips offered here and I think you will be so successful that you actually will enjoy speaking in public.

Remember, practice makes perfect!!