When we are assigned the task of presenting a business proposal, new program, or any information to others, it can be nerve wracking. Some people have no problem with public speaking, but for many it can be a dreaded task. Presentations are typically hosted in a meeting room, auditorium, or even via a webcam application. Whether the audience is 100+ people, or just 4, it can be easy to succumb to anxiety. In fact, many people are less comfortable presenting to a smaller group. This is likely due to being in closer proximity to the audience, where each individual reaction is more glaring. The closer you are, the more exposed you can feel. That said, there are steps you can take to help ease your mind and your nerves before a business presentation.
Know Your Stuff
Though it may seem obvious, knowing the material you are presenting like the back of your hand is important to keeping cool. Feeling confident in your knowledge of the subject matter, the flow from one point to the next, and the wording makes you less likely to draw a blank during the presentation. Come up with a number of questions that may be asked about the subject matter – for example, what are the long term goals of the project, how it will effect the morale of the business, etcetera. This will prepare you to seamlessly respond to these questions without awkward silence or having to rustle through paperwork. The saying, “practice makes perfect” is a true statement!
Know Your Audience
Every audience is different, ranging in education levels, professions, gender…the list goes on. Knowing who you are speaking to can help you shape your business presentation in a way that will touch your audience on a different level. Being too generic can lead to an unresponsive audience, which can shake your nerves. Nothing is worse than awkward silence when you are an unconfident public speaker! Using verbiage and terms that speak directly to the audience in front of you will engage the audience and leave you feeling like you relayed your message effectively. Even better, you will likely leave a positive lasting impression on them.