For most people, public speaking is one of their greatest fears. The idea of standing in front of a crowd can be debilitating. However, public speaking is extremely important. Throughout our lives and careers, we will be confronted with countless times where we have to stand in front of a crowd and give a talk. Some talks are formal while some are more casual, but here are a few tips when giving a presentation to a crowd:
Don’t write a script! Whatever you do, do not write a script. When you actually present, if you forget a sentence, it can throw you off completely.
Write an outline instead! Instead of a script, an outline gives you a general idea of what you are talking about. That way the presentation comes natural and is adaptable as you present.
Memorize the beginning and the end of your presentation. You are most nervous at the beginning, and the end is the most important to close up your talk. Memorizing these sections makes it easier when its time to get in front of the crowd.
Practice, practice, practice. Go through your talk at least 5 times before giving it. Repetition is key in order to gain confidence.
Give the speech in front of someone. Your friends and family are an excellence source for good advice. But remember, at the end of the day its your speech so take what they say with a grain of salt.
Don’t use visuals as a crutch. The visuals (powerpoint, poster, etc.) are there to supplement your presentation, but not to be in the spotlight. Make sure you keep the audience engaged with you and the focus on you.
Scan the crowd. You don’t have to necessarily make eye contact, but don’t stare at one point the whole time.
Hopefully these tips will help you have a successful presentation in your near future. Good luck!
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