Rehearse with your visual aids ahead of time, even if you were assigned to give your presentation at the last minute. Still take the time to practice. Rehearsing or “rehearing” yourself minimizes 75% of your nervousness. Research shows 95% of the success of your presentation is determined before the presentation. Planning and preparation is key to overcoming your fear of public speaking, and dramatically improving your presentation skills.
Rehearse with your visual aids, even on a crowded airplane. Here’s how: Days before your presentation, make 8 ½” x 11” copies of your slides, and numbered in order. Carry them with you in a plastic jacket. This will be very beneficial if you’re not able to practice with your actual slides. It will serve as a quick reference in that you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with the material even on an airplane. Not only will it minimize 75% of your nervousness, but it will help prevent you from reading what’s on your slides. When giving your presentation, have these numbered “cheat sheets” out on a table or podium in front of you. You want to be able to glance down at them to see what slide comes next, and then look back up at your audience. Think of your visual aids as “fast food for the eyes.”
Do the same type of “rehearsal” with your handouts. Whether you handout is one sheet or an entire workbook, make sure you know exactly what is on the pages and in what order. Your audience will know whether or not you are prepared and rehearsed. Remember, rehearsing works partly because you are “rehearing” your presentation.
November 13, 2005
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