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All of you who present... top tips please..

(25 Posts)
MascaraOHara Tue 12-Jul-05 10:46:19

I'm RUBBISH at it!!!

and have just heard I have to give another to important people - BALLS!! I know I have to do it as the more I do it the easier it will become but damn I'm bad at it.

I lose all my confidence, I get this really annoying nervous laugh, I um and ah, I can feel myself blushing, my sentences tail off. Basically I just lose it. Because I don't seem confidence I don't think people believe in what I am saying.

I need help!

compo Tue 12-Jul-05 10:47:40

I think preparation is the key. Also if you give out handouts people will look at them instead of you so that might make you feel less nervous. Ditto overhead projectors

Twiglett Tue 12-Jul-05 10:48:10

write a presentation ... practice it

then write out notes for each page

then shorten the presentation and put it on acetate or something else and use that to present from

and remember, no-one ever listens anyway

WideWebWitch Tue 12-Jul-05 10:54:50

Yep, preparation, as enid said on another thread: proper preparation prevents piss poor performance

For presentations the mantra is supposed to be:

Tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em,
Tell 'em
Tell 'em what you told 'em

Will you be doing it in Powerpoint? If so, there are some good templates you could use with useful pointers for preparing your presentation. There was a thread somewhere too, I'll see if I can find it. Remember, most people DON'T like presenting and will sympathise with you if you are nervous, and they WANT you to succeed so should be on your side. Practice in the room where you're giving the presentation if pos, or is it off site?

Breathe deeply
Concentrate on what you're saying, you presumably know what you're talking about or you wouldn't have been asked to present? Take confidence from that
Slow down, talking too fast is a major flaw in a lot of presentations
Look at your audience
If you want to divert attention away from you (and I know this isn't the idea but it used to work for me when I used to be nervous!) give them handouts - they will look at these and it takes the attention off you a bit! Not ideal I know, but if you're nervous it might help.
Make it clear whether you want questions during or at the end
Good luck. I used to hate it too but practiced and practiced and practiced and now I don't mind giving presentations at all, I quite enjoy it because I know I can do it well. But that's only because I have done it a lot and realised it's not as scary as I thought!

WideWebWitch Tue 12-Jul-05 10:59:28

good old thread here on which I said I didn't like it much, which is interesting because I don't mind it AT ALL now and have given quite a lot of presentations in the last year! Hey, maybe that's how relieved I was to stop being a SAHM last year! Anything seemed preferable!

MascaraOHara Tue 12-Jul-05 11:09:09

Thanks - off to read link

acnebride Tue 12-Jul-05 11:19:06

there's no such thing as too much practice. practice to the mirror somewhere where you can speak at a good volume. the absolute minimum IMO is three timed run-throughs but ten runthroughs would not be too many.

consider a situation or time where you do like talking to a group - maybe a group of mates in the pub or whatever - make the presentation more like that - perch on a desk instead of standing up and moving around - get the audience to do some of the talking, if they will know anything about the subject. Could mean less control - if that worries you, shorten the presentation and let them discuss at the end.

NEVER LOOK AT THE SCREEN. Always puts presenters off their stroke and they just end up reading the words on the screen, which should only be a trigger for the audience to remember what you say. Keep the slides as brief as you possibly can.

Very brief cue-cards can help, but try not to read off them either - just use them as backup in case you go blank.

Don't give handouts beforehand - every time you look up you will just see frowning foreheads studying your handouts, which will put you off even more.

zippy539 Tue 12-Jul-05 11:20:25

MascaraOHara (fabulous name ) - totally second the idea about handouts. The best advice I got regarding controlling nerves (especially if they make your voice/breathing go wobbly) is to imagine that you are breathing through your feet. It sounds weird but it does work - you imagine the air coming up through the soles of your feet and filling your body 'upwards' rather than struggling to gasp 'down' enough breath when you're nervous.

Got a feeling a might just have killed this thread.

MascaraOHara Tue 12-Jul-05 11:21:23

I've just read the thread and I'm now sat here thinking that I can remember/do all that!

zippy539 Tue 12-Jul-05 11:21:39

Sorry acnebride - just contradicted you re handouts. That's what I like about them - no one is looking at me.

WideWebWitch Tue 12-Jul-05 11:23:00

Zippy, you agreed with me though so that's ok

acnebride Tue 12-Jul-05 11:23:15


actually, you could photocopy a section of a Black Lace novel and nobody would pay any attention to you at all...

WideWebWitch Tue 12-Jul-05 11:23:55

Oh good mascaraohara, so that thread made you feel better? I am pleased! When's your presentation and how many people will be there?

MascaraOHara Tue 12-Jul-05 11:25:58

At the moment don't know and urmmm don't know. My boss just gave me a heads up as he knows I hat e things like this and am not great at them either (to say the least). I think my retort went along the lines of "Oh cheers, so now I've got longer to get myself wound up".

zippy539 Tue 12-Jul-05 11:30:03

That's not a bad idea, acnebride

Actually, thinking about it, when I say handouts I mean a sheet of paper with bullet points covering the main topics which I am going to talk about. I keep cards with the same bullet points on them (plus some reminder points just for me) then kind of take people 'through' the handout - filling in the detail as I go. It stops me rambling and getting lost. Wont bother with this next time though, I'm going with the Black Lace idea.

MascaraOHara Tue 12-Jul-05 11:44:10

I reckon I can do the breathing stuff.

grumpyfrumpy Tue 12-Jul-05 11:50:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Blackduck Tue 12-Jul-05 12:01:00

This thread makes me think of the wonderful Billy Connolly Sales Presentation - 'We want more of this, and less of that'....
Seriously, think WWW has summed it up - tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tell them you have told them....

PrincessPeaHead Tue 12-Jul-05 12:09:52

the best way to seem confident is to BE confident. remember as the audience you WANT to listen to a good confident speaker and an interesting talk, so they are all on your side willing you on. Top tips:

Don't giggle.

don't look AT the audience, look about 2 cms above the tops of their heads. they think you are looking at them, but you don't run the risk of any offputting eyecontact.

don't gabble.

look and sound incredibly relaxed. make a few self deprecating remarks but in a way which sounds very confident - "I'm sure some of you in the audience have come across this in your work far more often than I have, but I have found that...." - flatter your audience.

If something goes wrong, don't fluster, just laugh it off in a confident way - "ah, that doesn't appear to be slide 4, that appears to be my email box which you will notice has 42 unread messages.... that's better."

Act the role of a confident, professional speaker who knows that they know their stuff and who has nothing much to prove, and you will be fine.

Nightynight Tue 12-Jul-05 12:09:56

Definitely run through it beforehand, saying it out loud to yourself. If you can get a few sentences in your head, it helps prevent the horrible sentence tailing off moments (Ive had them too!)

love your nickname by the way mascara!

Nightynight Tue 12-Jul-05 12:11:51

Oh yes, another top tip: if you can possibly work some mathematics into your presentation, do so, under ANY excuse.

Your audience wont know what the hell you're on about, but they will automatically assume that you Understand Maths and are therefore a brainy person

PrincessPeaHead Tue 12-Jul-05 12:17:58

oh I always also use some slightly professionally risque language too - eg "at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious". Wakes them up , can make the talk seem a bit more intimate and makes you look confident enough to use it. But ONLY do this if your accent is naturally RP (or "posh") and you can drawl it out in a slightly ironic manner. ie do not use dodgy language if you have a thick essex accent when your audience might think it is because you don't know any better!

PeachyClair Tue 12-Jul-05 13:22:38

Put your cue cards on index cards, one sentence per card, then you can't possibly read from no matter how much you want to, they have to be cues.

LISTEN to your audience- it's easy to panic and not answer questions properly. Set a time at the beginning for this- either say you're happy to be interrupted, or would prefer questions at the end.

Ditto the handouts- if you want a 'break' give them early, but if you're being judged hand them out last, as people know the trick too well! You'll get most respect for leaving them to the end. I usually present, hand outs, few minutes to skim (coffee?), then when they have had a chance to think of any questions, answer.

OHP's are good. The last presentation I did I simply put relevant quotes on them, as they came in and used this to 'set the scene'. In my days as a fundraiser, I used to put up photos, either of people in events, patients or facilities we had funded. Corporate logo on all.

Make eye contact, smile a lot and use mild humour if appropriate. Best presentation I ever gave was at a job interview, I downloaded half theoir website to make handouts (it looked wellr esearched and they pee'd themselves laughing) and added in loads of pics, making sure I covered all aspects of ethnicity / disability /etc, so hammering home the message I'm an equal ops kinda person.

Worst one I ever gave was last yar on a college course, about omething I didn't really understand however much I had researched. Made slightly better by my mate after who had chosen to do corporal punishment and started with photos of slippers / whips / belt. At least I didnt look like a perv!!!!

Skribble Wed 13-Jul-05 23:55:52

I'm used to talking to groups of 5 to 50 people but in a more relaxed briefing situation.

I would be more uncomfortable if it was a presentation I suppose. I would recomend doing what comes natural to you, I use a lot of humour but don't try a standup routine if thats not you normally. If you are able to adlib then use your bullent points to guide you but watch you don't over run, If you need it all planned out use bullet points with sub headings for yourself in case you get lost within a section.

If you muck up stop take a breath laugh and be honest they are human after all (hopefully). They will all have been in that situation. If you get the giggles (black lace) I find getting a little angry and swearing under my breath about something/one in the room soon shakes them.

Of course you must .

Tortington Thu 14-Jul-05 00:34:55

i find throwing the onus back on the audience is a good one - if you can organise it get them into groups to discuss and feedback that makes THEM self concious and you can nod a lot and write down major points to sum up.

ditto with questions. ask the audience questions
what do you think of.....?
<put answer here>
well what do the rest of you think? do you agree?

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