It’s time – the day of the presentation has arrived! Today you have to present your work or some results, or maybe you have to convince your manager of a new concept. Whatever the topic, presentations cause enormous stress for many of us, combined with nervousness and a fear of failing. We have put together 10 tips to help you keep a cool head at your next presentation.
1. Prepare well
It seems very trite, but it is important: prepare yourself well for your presentation. Above all, practice the sequence so that you can approach the actual presentation confidently.
2. Don’t learn the whole presentation by heart
Prepare well, but don’t learn everything by heart? Exactly! Although you should be well prepared, learning the whole presentation word for word can be a disadvantage because if you forget a word, you are likely to panic. What is important, is to know what you want to say for each slide or section. This doesn’t mean you should rehearse every single word.
3. Work with a clear structure
Take care to ensure that your presentation is clearly and cohesively structured. This way, you avoid having to look at confused faces in the audience, and you feel more confident because you can easily orientate yourself to the clear structure of your presentation.
4. Don’t write down everything that you want to say
In a presentation, you should avoid writing down everything you want to say on the slide. Stick with manageable, bullet-point content and expand on it during your presentation. This makes it easier for you to keep track.
5. Think about your body language
If you fidget the whole time, you automatically feel more nervous. Try to stay calm and adopt a confident and open posture. Take your hands out of your pockets and show what you can do.
6. Involve the audience
Depending on the theme and the situation, it can be a good idea to involve the audience in your presentation. Formulating the content as questions not only makes your presentation more relaxed, it can also reduce your stress and often generates more interest within the audience.
7. Give yourself time
Try not to put yourself under time pressure. Of course, you should know roughly how long you need for the presentation. Nevertheless, it doesn’t help to race through it so that no one understands anything. Take your time, and speak calmly and clearly. This is not only more comfortable for you, but also for your audience.
8. Having to check something is not the end of the world
No one expects absolute perfection from you. The occasional glance at the slide or your notes is completely normal and acceptable. It is important, however, not to lose contact with your audience. They shouldn’t get the impression that you are reading from your notes.
9. Don’t stand fixed to the spot the whole time
If you are nervous, it can help to move around a little during your presentation. When you change to the next slide, for example, you can move to the other side of the screen, or take a quick drink of water. It is important to get the balance; a little movement is good, but avoid constantly walking back and forth.
10. Be open and honest
Of course, even with the best preparation, you can stumble. If you lose your thread, it is advisable to be honest. The audience will usually understand if you pause briefly to collect your thoughts. If you openly address problems during your presentation, someone can often help you.