Sunday, October 9, 2011

5 Super Tips to Minimize Presentation Jitters

1. Cut Down on Coffee, other Caffeinated Drinks and Chocolate
You already have a natural high; you don't need an additional adrenaline rush. Too much caffeine can contribute to a jumbled thought process, and caffeine is known to dry the vocal cords. Additionally, caffeine has a lasting effect. One cup at 8:00 a.m. will continue to deliver a jolt for at least three hours – and maybe more!

2. See Your Presentation Space
Whenever possible, look at the room in which you will be presenting. Check out the projection and audio systems, where you will stand to present, and where the audience will be sitting. Take a minute to absorb the setting. Imagine yourself delivering the speech, and your comfort level will carry over to your presentation. The old "I've been here before feeling" will sustain you.


3. Simplify: Divide Your Presentation into Sections
Memorization will take you only so far, so also practice visualization to add to your comfort factor. If you divide your presentation into a minimum of three sections, you should be able to SEE the beginning (Introduction), middle (Body) and end (Close).

When Chief Justice John Roberts was an advocate before the court, he was known for dividing up his argument into about eight sections and then practiced reciting them in random order to account for the justices' questions. According to his friend Richard Lazarus, a law professor at Georgetown University, John Roberts "always looks relaxed and spontaneous, but it's all based on an extraordinary amount of work and preparation."

4. Know Your Audience!
You have undoubtedly been asked to speak because you are an authority on your subject. It is a good bet that no one in the audience knows as much about the subject as you do, so begin your preparation by asking yourself what they want to hear: their knowledge, needs and interests. If you go in knowing you have the right material, it will go a long way toward eliminating your anxieties about delivering the speech.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice
You can't deliver a good presentation without practice. Creating a presentation is a first step, but the really hard part is the stand-up delivery. You must practice standing on your feet and speaking your words out loud. In this mode you can hear your words; calculate actual delivery time; focus on pitch, tone and pauses; and adjust, as necessary, for a smooth, fearless delivery.

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