A fellow public speaker recently asked me for inspiration and ideas to overcome sudden anxiety about giving a presentation. Here is the key. If you are going to give a presentation, you need to know your material well. Know the core material, the value that you are providing to the audience. Rehearse, if necessary, ahead of time. After that, the rest is easy.
You do not want to be on stage and waste the audience’s time. To deliver value to them, develop that value in the most effective way possible. It is a well-known secret among all public speakers that no performance is exactly the same. We all forget lines. We all make mistakes. We are still providing great value to the audience.
Many times, that value will be when you change that presentation for your audience. Even if you have rehearsed, you still need to be flexible and adapt. If you are getting feedback from the audience that you need to concentrate on a certain area, then concentrate on that area. Be prepared for questions. That, in fact, is one of the reasons that public speaking is different. It is not theater or just a recording. It is not standing there repeating the same presentation. It is interactive.
That is one of the most awesome things about public speaking. That is something that you, as a speaker, need to keep in mind. You can rehearse, but do not over-rehearse, because you want to keep that dynamic with your audience. Be interactive. Know your material and know it well. Know the value you are going to provide, but then be prepared to customize to your audience as you go. New ideas will occur. Do not get too stuck on one form and process, because you are going to need to change and adjust for your audience.
Have you had trouble in giving presentations in the past? Have you gotten stage fright? What did you do to overcome it? Join us in the comments below and let us know.
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About the Author
R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment, gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can email R. Shawn McBride or (214) 418-0258.