Stage presentation is always fun, as you will be showcasing your talent in-front of audience who wants to listen to you. But, when you are giving your first stage presentation in front of many people, it’s scary and sometime it goes completely wrong. It’s very important to be mentally prepare for your presentation, to ensure you end up giving a great presentation.
It doesn’t matter if you are giving your presentation in college, in-front of your faculty or a completely different set of audience, preparing for your first presentation is always advisable. After first stage presentation, you will understand many things which can’t be explained in words.
<Image credit: rHour>
On 5th March 2013, I gave my first ever presentation on Blogging in front of crowd of 10 at a blogger meet in Mohali. When a old blogger friend asked me to be the keynote speaker, I couldn’t deny him, and decided to fight the stage fright, and prepare for my first ever presentation on blogging. In this guide, I will share the exact things I did to ensure that my presentation stays professional, and I don’t make those common mistakes which a newbie makes.
Fighting the stage Fright : For First timer
Stage fright or commonly known as performance anxiety, which is very common phobia which 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>
Understand your audience:
This is the most critical aspect of your presentation, as this will help you to select the right topic for your presentation. In my case, I was about to give a presentation on WordPress SEO, but realised most of the bloggers attending this event are BlogSpot bloggers, and a topic like “WordPress SEO” will not be an interesting topic. So, I changed the topic to make it more targeted to my audience.
Selecting the topic:
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 $150/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 next article, for now lets talk about practice part. Once my presentation was in draft stage, I took out my JVC camcorder and recorded myself creating the presentation. I practiced by thinking my camcorder is the audience, and I’m giving presentation to him. This helped me in many ways, when I watched the recoding later:
- Helped me to understand on what slide of presentation, I stuck. I made changes in those part to ensure this doesn’t happen when giving live presentation.
- Helped me to learn the art of engaging audience.
- 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 which are not suggested or look good when giving a formal presentation.
Rehearse watching yourself in mirror:
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 start giving presentation. 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 un-necessary body action and gesture.
- Make sure you take your presentation in 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 glitch just before the presentation.
- Spend first 2 minute 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 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 giving time for questions, this will ensure that you are not interrupted in the middle of your presentation.
- While giving 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 actually happened to me when giving my first presentation, when I ended talking about advance topic while explaining things. In my case it was LSI keywords.
- Don’t stand behind the presenter table, and rather come out in-front and use your body language to add more emotions to your presentation. Maintain a perfect balance 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. Do remember, nodding heads doesn’t mean yes always.
- Listen carefully, when somebody is asking question. Take your time and answer questions effectively. 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 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. If sometime while giving presentation thing goes wrong, simply take a quick pause, recollect yourself and continue with your presentation. 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.