The Do’s & Don’t’s of Presenting

16 05 2017

The presentation is a procedure where you represent your product or project in a speech, lecture or demonstration in order to educate your audience. For some, the anxiety level is high when you hear about giving presentations in front of people while some find it an easy calling. In other words, some freak out and some don’t! Before heading for a presentation, it’s important to loosen your nerves. Take a deep breath and begin. Concentrate on a specific object in the room to help you release your stress.

As a presenter, you have to be fully immersed in the topic in order to captivate the audience. Audience satisfaction is the goal of the presentation’s success. There’s a saying (some call it the “global rule” that the first impression is the last impression. Keep your presentation interactive and communicate with proper eye contact.

As you get started, here are some do’s and don’t’s on presenting, created by Walkerstone.

Presenting_infographic-FINAL

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Embarrassing Public Speaking Dilemmas (and How to Avoid Them)

31 03 2015

Public-Speaking

It doesn’t matter how much you’ve prepped for a presentation or speech, there’s always the chance that something goes wrong, even if it’s as miniscule as stumbling over your words. For us recent grads who are new to the job scene, there’s nothing scarier than humiliating yourself in front of your co-workers.

The thought of embarrassing yourself during a speech will probably leave you wondering why you didn’t pay more attention in your Public Speaking 101 course. The truth of the matter is that you’re going to make mistakes; they are unavoidable. The crucial thing is learning how to recover from them. Consider the following public speaking dilemmas, and learn how to avoid them.

No One Has Seen Your Eyes for the Last Half Hour

There are times in life when eye contact can and should be avoided – like when you’re being reprimanded by your parents, when you’re within a 20-foot radius of your ex or when the teacher is scanning the room for someone to call on and you don’t know the answer. Public speaking, however, is not the time to neglect eye contact.

Eye contact is essential if you want to connect with your audience and keep them engaged. If you neglect proper eye contact, when you look up at the end of the speech and realize you never once looked at the people in the room, you’ll be mortified.

This is something that takes practice, but you can make notes reminding yourself to look up and make eye contact at the appropriate times.

Your Speech is Putting Everyone to Sleep

Think about the things you choose to watch for entertainment. They probably don’t include a bland, monotone speaker. If you’re reading strictly from your notes, not wavering to smile, crack a joke or insert a personal tidbit into your speech, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

You’ll witness an immeasurable amount of yawns during this small time period if you’re boring. You don’t want to feel the pain of walking out of the conference room only to hear people celebrating that your presentation is finally over. To prevent this from happening, use powerful words and incorporate similes, metaphors and alliterations into your speech.

You Can’t Stop Stumbling Over Your Words

Stuttering is the worst when you’re on the spot. To avoid this catastrophe, take a deep breath before speaking or moving on to the next point. This will calm you down and allow you to talk more easily.

If you’re not speaking in your native language, this can be especially stressful when getting your point across and being understood. Stumbling over your words might simply be a symptom of talking too fast, so slow it down.

You Haven’t Paused Once

No one is going to keep up if you haven’t stopped to pause. Taking a break can be a scary task when all you’re trying to do is reach the finish line, but don’t underestimate the power of silence. It’s vital for transitions from point to point, but it’s also effective for letting an important point settle in with your audience. No one is going to take you seriously if you don’t give them a chance to.

Time your notes so that the pauses fall when you’re alternating your papers or notecards. You can also write yourself a short reminder at the bottom.

You’re Using Too Many Filler Words

Like, please like don’t go all, like, valley girl on us. This can be one of the most distracting parts of a speech. And when you realize people are tallying how many times you’ve said “uh,” it will sting.

Recognizing your habit is the most important part to breaking the habit. Recording yourself speaking a few times and listening to where you’re inserting filler words will help you avoid it next time. Hearing “like” 30 times throughout your speech will drive you crazy enough to stop.

You’re Late to Your Own Presentation

Showing up late is something that doesn’t go unnoticed, especially when everyone is waiting on you to start. Give yourself ample time in the morning – even if that means setting six alarms – and prepare your clothing and notes the night before. Your morning should be easy so you’re not rushed on the road and you can arrive early without breaking good driving etiquette and endangering others on the road.

All of the above mistakes are sure to be cringe-worthy. But if you remember a few of these tips, you’ll have your audience engaged and smiling at the insightful things you have to say.

****Campus to Career thanks to Sarah Landrum for this insightful post!!****

sarah landrum head shotAbout the author: Sarah Landrum recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she’s a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. She’s also the newest addition to the Campus to Career family, serving as a featured contributor on a regular basis. You can find her tweeting during boring speeches @SarahLandrum





Underwear, Directing Traffic and Public Speaking

20 03 2012

Public speaking.  <GULP>  This phrase typically causes panic, knee-knocking and butterflies in a person’s stomach when mentioned.  Or, just plain, old-fashioned F-E-A-R.  Know what I’m talking about?  Good!  Let’s get started.

At one time or another in your life, you’re likely going to be asked to speak in public.  Whether it’s speaking to a group of 2nd graders or Fortune 500 executives, here are a few tips to help you get past the fear and give your best when you’re given the stage.

Adding needless punctuation. Sounds odd, right?  Here’s what I’m talking about:  I went to school with a person who had brilliant ideas, but couldn’t communicate them clearly to a group.  When there was a natural pause, they filled it with “uh” or “um.”  It was almost as if every comma, period or semicolon was replaced with “uh!”  There were even people in the audience that were taking score, adding a tick mark every time the words were uttered.  There were over 200 instances in the 7 minute speech.  Don’t fill your time with needless punctuation.  Instead, take a deep breath, pause for a second or two, gather your thoughts and move on.

Directing traffic.  Have you ever seen someone flail their arms and hands as they speak?  I’ve seen some that look like they’re trying to land Air Force One.  Fact: It’s annoying.  Erratic movement detracts from the content being presented.  Practice your speech or presentation in front of a mirror and you’ll see just how much you’re doing it.  You might even consider recording yourself on video so you can watch the playback to adjust.  Subtle gestures and movements go a long way.  Practice a few movements so you don’t look like a robot when you’re presenting.  You don’t want to land the plane, but you also don’t want your gestures to look forced.

Hiding in plain sight.  You might be more comfortable speaking with a lectern.  Why?  You get to hide behind it, lean on it, there’s a place for your notes or even a spot for a glass of water.  Who wouldn’t prefer that?  Note: A podium is a raised platform on which a speaker stands.  A lectern is the upright object on which he or she places her papers.  Here’s the thing: you can’t always avoid using a lectern to speak more freely from the stage.  It might be the only place that has the microphone.  But, if you can, I would suggest getting out in front and talking directly to, not at, the audience.  For some reason, it’s tougher to do this from behind the lectern.

Mic check: two, three.  Your voice carries.  A microphone isn’t usually warranted when you speak to a group.  We get it – you think you have a big mouth.  I sometimes fall prey to this weakness.  As a former broadcaster, I can typically command a room with my “radio voice.”  Guess what?  I’m not as loud as I think I am.  The people in the back of the room can’t hear as well as the people directly in front of you.  Use the microphone.  I’ll say it again.  Use the microphone.   Yes, you have to.  It doesn’t matter if a few people say they can hear you.  What if they are recording your speech?  We all know how terrible a YouTube video or audio clip is when the person’s voice is muffled or so low you have to crank up the volume.  Your audience will get more from your content if they don’t have to struggle to hear it!

Don’t forget the visuals.  As you’re giving your presentation, think of how a visual representation will help the audience connect with your content.  You might need a few words or bullet points, but know that slides ARE NOT your presentation.  They’re aids.  Not a crutch.  I have a friend who is a wonderful storyteller, commanding the attention of everyone in the audience as he weaves real-life stories and pop culture into his presentation.  Slides?  Yes, he has them.  In fact, during his last keynote, he used over 200 slides for a 30 minute presentation.  Guess what?  His slides don’t make a lick of sense without him telling the story!  So those people who always ask, “Will the slides be available afterwards?” won’t have much to use if they don’t pay attention in real-time.  The caveat in this situation is that it doesn’t apply across the board for everyone.  If you’re giving a financial presentation, you’re probably going to need content with number and figures on your slides, with them needing to be available for reference afterwards.  Each case is unique.

Practice, practice, practice.  Need I say more?  The best way to polish your presentation is to practice it a few times.  Some people are good to go with just one or two run-throughs.  Others need to deliver the entire presentation over and over again.  Ask your friends or family to listen to your presentation, giving you feedback afterwards.  They’ll notice the “um’s” and flailing arms more than you will.  If you don’t have the option of a LIVE run-through, video the speech a few times for later review.

One last piece of advice:  Don’t picture the audience in their underwear.  It’s just weird and I doubt you’ll feel any more comfortable about giving your speech if they’re all in their skivvies in your head.  Did I make you laugh?  🙂

What is your best piece of advice regarding public speaking?  Have a funny moment you’d like to share?  Please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!