Presentation Tips for Beginners Can Make a Difference and Reduce Anxiety
While fear pervades many aspects of business, presentations consistently drive it to exquisitely high levels. According to Wikipedia, 75% of all people experience some degree of anxiety or nervousness when public speaking. In fact, surveys have shown that most people fear public speaking more than they fear death. Wow!
4 Tried-and-True Presentation Tips for Beginners
To reduce your anxiety, here are four tried-and-true presentation tips for beginners from top sales presentation training experts:
- Get Your Opening Right
To engage your audience right from the start, eliminate “wind-ups to the pitch”. These include “I’m going to tell you a (funny) story”, “Over the next few minutes I will cover”, and “Thank you for having me”.
Dive right into your topic without prelude or explanation. If you have to thank your host or introduce yourself, place these remarks after your unique opening. And please, leave jokes for the professional. Self-effacing charm or humor works much better.
- Warm Up Your Speaking Voice
Your voice is a delicate instrument, and should be properly tuned. Start drinking room temp water about an hour before your presentation and eat grapes or apples for natural lubrication. Avoid dairy products and bananas, which leave your mouth “sticky”, as well as alcohol, coffee or black tea, which are drying agents.
For a warm-up, do a pre-yawn to open your vocal folds. To vibrate your resonators, hum “m’s” or “z’s”, reaching for your highest and lowest notes in your register.
- Manage speaker anxiety
Contrary to popular belief, stage fright is actually beneficial – the heightened sense of awareness, total focus, and being in the moment, all help a speaker be their best. Trying to achieve a Buddha-like calm can result in a boring presentation. But performance pressure and anxiety needs to be managed.
Put your full attention on engaging your audience, rather than focusing on yourself, or your perceived shortcomings. Also, think about the task at hand, be fully prepared, and visualize yourself as a success.
- Focus Your Intention
When preparing your talk, decide on the one thing you would like to achieve, more than anything else. Then consider your content, and include only what supports your objective. This will eliminate the tendency to ramble, or include too many facts and figures.
Most speakers either don’t have an intention or have too many. Others believe their goal is to educate or inform an audience. If this rings true, ask yourself, “why do I want to educate?” The answer is your true intention.
The Bottom Line
Public speaking can be terrifying. There comes a point for most of us, however, when the fear is no longer useful. It has crossed the line from excitement to dread. Instead of driving preparation, it now impairs concentration and kills energy. Follow these four tips to turn your anxiety into an advantage.
To learn more about Presentation Tips for Beginners, download 11 Ways to Better Design Presentation Slides