Mastering the art of presentation requires practice and rehearsal. It’s true that a touch of anxiety makes for a better performance but too much anxiety has the opposite effect. Thus, you aim to reduce your presenter anxiety by planning, preparing and rehearsing your presentations. Therefore aim to build familiarity as you go. Quite rightly, rehearsal skills for presenters are essential.
What happens when you are over-anxious about your presentation?
The raw emotion that makes for a successful presentation performance is replaced by faltering, unstructured and disorganised speech.
To help, therefore, here are five rehearsal tips to boost your presentations.
Sit down and read silently. You should typeset and format your presentation as if you intended to read it to your audience. Thus, you start each sentence on a new line and you format with double line spacing. Your choice of typeface and font should be for legibility and not style. And you use upper case characters only for the beginning of sentences, proper names and points needing emphasis. Thus, it’s simple to read.
Sit down and read aloud. Once you have read through your presentation or PowerPoint deck several times you are ready to read aloud. Reading aloud is a vital memory enforcer. It helps you to visualise and memorise key points within your presentation.
Stand up and read aloud. Once you have read through your presentation several times it’s good practice to do so standing up. That’s because when you stand up, you can apply emphasis to those passages of the speech that require special attention. You can speak up where appropriate and single out key words with extra intonation. At this stage you should look out for words or word combinations that are difficult to pronounce.
Stand up, read aloud and move. With these key tasks completed you can now practise your presentation aloud–moving around. You should walk around and move your arms. Point for extra emphasis, perhaps. You should move your head adjusting your gaze to establish eye contact with an audience as you make each decisive point. With a mirror you can build a sense of your own mobility and speaking presence.
Record your presentation. Your last rehearsal step is to prepare an audio recording of yourself. Your target is to prepare a recording that you can listen to when travelling to and from work or during a quiet moment at home or the ball game. You need to build familiarity. And so, with familiarity goes confidence.
These five presentation skills enable you to prepare and rehearse your presentations to perfection. So you manage your anxiety. You control your nerves and you become more comfortable with the material that you intend to present. Thus you boost your presentation performance.
“Talk low, talk slow, and don’t talk too much.”