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 that, I spoke at few selective events in the last 2 years and some of them were:
- ResellerClub Hosting Summit (About 60 people)
- WordCamp 2014 (About 200 People)
- WordUP by Indiblogger in Mumbai, India
- IBM business connect 2015
- At Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar
- SocialaThon by DigitalMarket.asia in 2015
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:
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.
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.