How to Prepare YourSelf for First Stage Presentation

Preperation for First stage presentation

Stage presentation is always fun, as you will be showcasing your talent in front of the audience who are there to listen to you.

But, when you are giving your first stage presentation in front of many people, it’s scary and at times it can go completely wrong. Especially if you don’t prepare yourself & on the stage for the first time, the sudden rush will make you look stupid, as you might not be able to speak anything for minutes.

You know that awkward silence?.

It’s very important to be mentally prepared before the presentation, to ensure you end up speaking in a way that your listener could understand.

It doesn’t matter if you are giving a presentation in college, a Workshop to selected people, or in a panel discussion.  Preparing for your first presentation is always advisable.  After first stage presentation, you will understand many things that can’t be explained in words.

I started my journey as a speaker on 5th March 2013, when I spoke in front of 20 some bloggers at an event in Mohali, Punjab.

After first stage presentation

With Attendees after my first stage presentation.

 

After that, I spoke at few selective events in the last 2 years and some of them were:

Harsh Agrawal Digital Market Asia

I’m selective when speaking at the events, and I have few mantras that I follow to not screw up the day.

Talking about my first speaking offer, When a blogger friend (Shankar) asked me to be the keynote speaker, I couldn’t deny him, and decided to fight the stage fright (My innermost fear), and prepare for my first ever presentation on blogging.

The event went well & I talked about my $174/month AdSense blog strategy & until the end everybody was engaged & had a lot of follow-up questions. On Sidenote, I believe a good presentation is when you are accompanied by questions at the end.

In this guide, I will share tips & tricks that will help you to prepare yourself before the presentation & make it engaging.

How to overcome the fear of stage: For First timer

Stage fright or commonly known as performance anxiety, which is very common phobia that happens when we have to perform in front of public, camera or give a self-presentation. Many successful and famous people like David Brenner, Richard Lewis and many more had stage fright. <Source>

Know your audience:

This is the most critical aspect of your presentation, as this will help you to select the right topic & tone for your presentation. You can ask the organizer about the demographic of the audience or ask them what kind of topics resonate well with the audience. If it’s an yearly event, usually organizer knows what works better.

Once you have understood your audience needs & demographics, the next step is to select the topic.

Selecting the topic:

When choosing the topic, you need to keep few things in mind:

  • Are you an expert or can you deliver the message better than anyone?
  • Do you want to relate yourself or your brand with the topic you are speaking on?
  • Can you deliver the message in said time?

At times, it’s hard to cover a wide topic in a shorter span. For example, you can’t not deliver about SEO or blog marketing in a 45-minute session, but you can talk about WordPress SEO, Blog Marketing with Facebook in that time.

So pick your topic wisely!

This is where I took help of few of my friends who just started blogging. I asked them what are the most common questions you have related to blogging, and here are few suggestions I got:

After thinking a lot, I decided to create a case-study, where I shared the details of a blog, which is making $174/month from AdSense and with only 12 hours of work in 3 months. I ensure that with this topic, I will target bloggers who are learning blogging, and help existing bloggers with plugins, content strategy tips and few more tips to create an authority blog.

Practice yourself in front of the camera or friends:

I first used a pen-paper to outline the idea for my slides, and used Keynote app on iPad to create a simple presentation. I will share tips on creating effective presentation in the upcoming article, for now lets talk about practice part.

Once my presentation was in draft stage, I took out my video cam and recorded myself giving the presentation. I recorded myself & watched it find out common lines, repeated lines, body language issues & repeated the process until I was satisfied.

This is how recording myself helped me:

  • Helped me to understand what slide I usually get stuck. At times, I ended up tweaking or completely removing such slides.
  • Helped me to notice and fixed my body language, and in first recording I found: I scratched my head twice, I blinked my eyes a lot, and few other body actions that are not suggested or look good when engaging with audience
  • Read: Body language tricks to become instantly likable.

Practice in-front of the mirror:

practice infront of the mirror

The camera does help to watch your recording, but also it’s a good idea to see your facial expression on a mirror. Look at the mirror, and practice again. You would understand, how your facial expression changes when you explaining things. This will further help you to eradicate 1-2 expressions on particular emotions, which looks quite funny.

Here are some additional tips and pointers to help you prepare for your first stage presentation:

  • When you practice or rehearse a couple of times, this will help you to get the required confidence when giving the actual presentation.
  • Watching your recording will help you to remove any unnecessary body action and gesture.
  • Make sure you take your presentation in the different format. Keep it on your Email, in a pen-drive or on your Dropbox. This will ensure that you don’t have to face lots of technical glitches just before the presentation.
  • Spend first 2 minutes before the presentation alone, and stretch your body. This will help you to reduce any other possible stress.
  • Make sure you carry a glass of water if your presentation is too long. This will help you to take care of dryness in the mouth when giving a long presentation.
  • Start your presentation with questions, and ensure that you keep engaging with your audience, throughout the presentation. I usually do that by asking questions to the group, or to the individuals.
  • Make sure to tell people that you will give time for questions, this will ensure that you are not interrupted in the middle of your presentation.
  • While giving a presentation, stay confident and stay focused on the topic. Carry a paper with yourself, and outline the important words in order, to ensure you don’t get carried away. This happened to me when giving my first presentation, when I ended talking about the advanced topic.
  • If sometimes you make mistake of talking off-topic, bring back your audience attention to the topic. You can say “We will talk about ‘X’ if time permits, for now let’s go back to ‘Y'”
  • Don’t stand behind the presenter table as it shows less confidence. You can Come out in front and use your body language to add more emotions to your presentation. Maintain a good body posture when you do this.
  • Don’t speak too fast, as it may happens when we rush to end the presentation. This also shows lack of confidence, and half of the time your audience will not understand what you are trying to explain.
  • Listen carefully, when somebody is asking the question. Take your time and answer questions effectively. A good practice is to repeat the question to all before your starts explaining and move few steps towards to the person who asked questions. If you think the question is out of the context or will take too much time to explain, tell the person to meet you after the presentation for the detailed answer.
  • Don’t say words like Sorry, umm.. or any other stop words. Take a break and speak slowly. Say sorry, when you made a blunder, and usually people understand the fear of stage fright, and will excuse you with a smile.
  • Your goal is not to impress people only, but to explain and make the understand the topic you are talking about. Just wear something which looks presentable, and explains things according to the kind of audience you have. Use real-life examples, to connect non-interested listeners to your topic.

If you have practiced and implemented above tips, you are already ready for a professional presentation. At times while giving presentation thing can go really wrong, simply take a quick pause, recollect yourself and continue with your presentation. I usually keep a bottle of water around which works great for me.

Always remember..

I hope this tips will help you with your first presentation, and if you still have any questions or other tips to share, do share it via comments. If you find this article useful and informative, feel free to share it on Facebook and Google plus.

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Article By
Harsh Agrawal is a blog scientist and a passionate blogger. He is blogging since 2008 & writes about Blogging, SEO, Make money online & tech. His blog, ShoutMeLoud receives 1 million Pageviews/month and have over 700K subscribers.

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COMMENTs ( 16 )

  1. rakhi says

    @Harsh Agrawal

    It is truly valuable for me(Student and blogger) and numerous agents those need to offer presentation to display their items and offices before group of onlookers.

    regards
    rakhi

  2. says

    Thanks Harsh,

    These are some very good tips! This can also be applied for job interviews ;) but since we are all bloggers we don’t need a job haha.

    Cheers,

    Yordi

  3. Sumit jha says

    I must say you have covered every bit of info one should be aware of before giving his/her presentation. I could remember my first presentation in front of my colleagues,and I can say that wasn’t so easy for me. I would suggest every one to read out your post before giving their first presentation it would definitely help.

    PS: Don’t forget to take a glass of water with you, if your presentation is going to be long #My Experience

  4. Deepak says

    Yes, this is really a very helpful article who make speech first time in audience. Your given technique that how to prepare itself & how to improve this through recording your performance is really effective.
    Thank you so much for sharing this valuable article.

  5. Robin says

    Simply brilliant points covered :) Fear is the root of everything. It simply kills whatever we plan. Being comfortable in the stage will do wonders with the presentation without a doubt :) Sharing this post to help some more hungry minds.

    Robin.

  6. Chetan Bhasin says

    Hi Harsh! I have to admit that these are some really great tips that you mentioned above. Eespecially the idea of asking your beginner blogging friends about the questions in their minds – I always use a tactic like that!

    In a past few years I’ve given a lot of stage presentations to different sorts of people. Some were for my colleagues, some were my seniors, and some belonged to the people I had business with.
    One thing that I would recommend after all my experience is that the nature of presentation should change with the nature of the audience. Well! That sounds very obvious, but it can be hard at times to adopt yourself to your audience. In the end, practice helps. I have this one friend who takes his cell phone with him and turns on the sound recorder before he starts speaking and records everything to listen to it later and improve his speaking skills. I must say this trick works very well for him (it might not work so well for some people).

    Oh! And the one problemt that a presentator always comes across that I would like to mention is the response from people. You might have expected an engaging audience and end up with a bunch of silent and sleepy people. Throwing paradox and conflicting situations to your audience helps get their interest, and you can always finish it with an opinion. Some sarcasam works well too if you’re not giving a presentaion to some really formal people.

    Oops! I think I’ve posted a really long comment. I might have just blogged about it! ;)

  7. Imran says

    Hi Harsh,

    I had this opportunity twice last month, the first experience was very horrible and the second was ok. I had to convince my software that we all learn by mistakes, I was delivering a talk on HTML and CSS and CSS Frameworks, it is one of the hell of experience.

  8. Anurag Jain says

    Points are Easy to understand and simple to practise points…!! I definitely going practise these on my Presentation! Thanks for sharing these!

  9. says

    Thats great to hear Harsh , you are a great inspiration to
    young bloggers and you made some good points in context to giving
    stage presentations and how to overcome your presentation fears
    .Also it helps to reach large no of audience apart from web
    users.

  10. Raman says

    It is really useful for me(Student and blogger) and many businessmen those have to give presentation to present their products and facilities in front of audience.

  11. gagan says

    Wow!! I just love your articles from office hours to rest hours i devote time towards your evergreen articles Harsh bro i just love
    and about this article!! I appreciate you for this a lot because Same condition I faced during presentation :P
    if you are comfortable to upload your presentation here its very helpful and knowledgeable
    for all the users
    Thanks
    Regards Gagandeep Singh Bagga

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