By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
I have several presentations over the next few months, so it seems only fitting to write a post about public speaking. For some, talking in front of a crowd is easy. For others, it’s at the bottom of their TO DO list. Either way, there is bound to be a time when you’ll need to give a presentation. Here are some tips I use to be ready and relaxed.
Be comfortable with your topic. If you’ve been asked to speak at a conference or meeting, then there is probably a good reason. You know your stuff. Talk about what you know and your experiences.
Be simple with your outline. Don’t try to squeeze 60 minutes of information into a 30 minute presentation. Take into account your topic and the time allotted and select the most important points to share with your audience.
Use examples. I find that including a few examples tends to best illustrate a point. It might also help drum up questions from the audience and get them engaged. Consider using recent or highly publicized examples that your audience has most likely heard of.
Practice, practice, practice. Once you have your outline and presentation done, practice for content, rhythm and time. Keep what works and change up or take out parts that don’t seem to flow the way you thought they would. Putting the extra time into practicing will boost your confidence when it comes time to present.
Be prepared for technical difficulties. Technical glitches will happen. That is why I make sure I have my presentation on a flash drive as well as email a version to myself, just in case. I also make a PDF of the presentation. I don’t want to be stuck with an incompatible version of PowerPoint. If you are really worried, bring your own laptop just to be on the safe side.
Public speaking doesn’t have to be scary. It’s good to get out there and share your expertise. Look for opportunities at conferences and meetings. Once you have two or three under your belt, you’ll be a seasoned pro!