Taking the stress out of presentations

Making a speech or presentation can be stressful. I want to share six tips that will remove the stress, and make you a much more effective communicator.

1 BE YOURSELF

The key ingredient to being a great speaker – and a success in life – is to be authentic.

  • Don’t try to sound or act like someone else.
  • Don’t use gestures that are foreign to you.
  • Don’t try to use words that you would never use on a regular basis in conversation with a friend.

2 BE PASSIONATE

Be comfortable displaying your passion. Passion, combined with your authentic voice, is the foundation upon which great speeches are made. Passion engages and inspires your audience.

3 BE FOCUSED

For your audience to receive a clear message, you have to be clear about the message you want them to get. As you think about your speech or presentation, identify the main message you want to deliver. Condense this message into one clear statement. Everything you say or do in the course of your presentation will support this controlling idea.

4 BE CLEAR

Too many speeches are filled with grandiose words. Too often those words are used in a misguided attempt to impress audiences. The simpler you are, the more powerful you are. Simple words guarantee clarity and understanding. Simple words ensure your message sticks.

5 BE ENGAGING

The pause is one of the most important tools a speaker has.

  • Pause for the audience to reflect on your words
  • Pause for dramatic effect
  • Pause for emphasis

6 BE A STORYTELLER

Stories help us make sense of our world. They define us, inspire us, comfort us and teach us.

The great thing about well-chosen and well-told stories is that they resonate with different audiences in different ways. We apply our own circumstances to the story being told. The magic of story is that it prompts a response of ‘that could be me’.

Stop writing; start talking

Download our free "Ace That Presentation" White Paper for sure-fire tips on more effective presentations.

Halina St James, founder of Podium Coaching and creator of TalkitOut

Halina St James takes the worry out of presentations with her Present Like a Pro video training course. It’s available now from the Podium Coaching online store, together with her popular TalkitOut: From Fears to Cheers e-book and workbook.