Presentation skills training can help make presenting less "Psycho" and more "success"!
The Exorcist is scary. Texas Chain Saw Massacre? Scary. Psycho?! Very scary.
The scariest thing of all? Giving a presentation.
Everyone knows the story- statistics have shown that people fear public speaking more than anything else, even death. Now THAT’S a lot. But what are we actually afraid of? In honor of Halloween, here are some things that may keep you quaking in your boots when you present- and what to do about them.
1) What if I forget what to say or lose my place?: This fear can feel like the old nightmare where you show up to school in your underwear. The fear of being in front of a roomful of people and not knowing what to say or where to go can be overwhelming. However, chances are the answer is right there on stage with you - your run sheet, a slide, or even your location in space can help jog your memory again. Remember to pause, and feel free to tell your audience you need a moment to find your place: “Excuse me for one second while I find where we need to be.” They will understand.
2) What if I’m boring and they hate me?: If you keep your thoughts on how you want your audience to feel and what you want them to do, you won’t have time for worry to creep in. When you’re focused on inspiring, exciting, or energizing your audience, you can’t help but be engaging. And a story will always work to bring your audience along with you - give them a thread to follow, and they will be on the edge of their seats. Also, it will take their minds off of the facts and statistics for a moment, and give them the opportunity to re-up with a clear mind when you return to your content.
3) How will I cover all of my content in the time allotted? I don’t want to leave anything out!: When you are preparing your presentation, don’t use up every moment of the time you’re given - leave some extra time as a buffer in case something should go wrong along the way. (Or in case something should go right! A vigorous question and answer takes time.) If your presentation is prepared under-time, then you never have to worry about squeezing everything in. You know that all of your information is going to fit. (With that in mind, remember editing is your friend!)
The best way to conquer your fears? PRACTICE! We talk about the importance of rehearsal all of the time, but it bears repeating- the more you practice, the more comfortable you will be, and the lower the spook factor of your next presentation!