#72: Your first key presentation

You’ve been offered the chance to do your first significant presentation

How are you feeling?

Nervous? Excited? Terrified?

Presenting for the first time can be daunting.

It is though a great opportunity to raise your own profile, your personal brand if you like, as well as promote the products and services you and your company offer.

And did you have that moment when you tried thinking of a whole load of reasons, or excuses, as to why you couldn’t present? – the date clashes with a vital dental appointment, you just know your voice won’t be working on that day, there must be someone else in the company who would prefer to do this etc……

Most first time event presenters feel exactly like that. The excitement of being asked to present running parallel with an overwhelming fear of standing up in front of lots of people, many of whom you won’t know, and speaking. And yes they will be all be looking at you. 

So here’s why you should forget about trying to find an excuse and commit to doing your first presentation:

  1. Once you’ve done one presentation you will want to do more
  2. It will be good for your profile. Presentations can lead to promotion opportunities.
  3. You will enjoy the applause
  4. You will feel a great sense of achievement
  5. Your personal confidence will grow in other areas of your working and personal life

And here are 10 top tips to help you make the most of this opportunity and feel less nervous about doing it:

  1. A lot of first-time presenters worry that they will forget to include all material they want to use. Don’t worry about this. If you forget to mention something the only person who’s going to know that you forgot is yourself, so carry on and ignore what you forgot to include.
  1. Don’t write yourself a script. I would always advocate having some prompt cards, postcard size, but not a word for word script. If you have a script you will find yourself reading it word for word and that is likely to hold back your engagement with your audience.
  1. If you are delivering a presentation on behalf of your company chances are you’ll be using a company style templated presentation. That though shouldn’t stop you from being able to deliver it in your own personal style, and if the content flow doesn’t work for you, change it. 
  1. Make sure you practice and time your delivery, working on the basis that in practice it should take you around 80% of the actual time allocated, so if you have a 20 minute presentation to deliver practice delivering it in 16 minutes.
  1. Find out what equipment you will be using, whether there will be a microphone, where you are in the running order, how the slides will change, indeed everything about the logistics of the delivery on the day. Do this well in advance if you can so that you are comfortable with how everything’s going to work. Knowing all this before the day will be one less thing to worry about.
  1. If you are going to use slides have a plan B just in case the slide system stops working. It rarely happens these days but always worth thinking about what you going to do if the slides are no longer available.
  1. A great way of getting off to a confident start that calms your nerves is to begin telling a relevant story that you know well. You don’t have to tell it all just the beginning of the story will set you up for the rest of your presentation.
  1. Arrive as early as you can at the venue on the day so that you can not only get a feel for how it’s all going to work but it also gives you a chance to get to know over the pre-event coffee some of the people who will be in the audience. Introduce yourself to them as one of the speakers, give an outline of what you’re going to be talking about. This will make you feel as though you have some friends in the audience. Organise a glass of water for when you are speaking, just in case your voice starts to dry up or you need a few seconds to re-gather your thoughts.
  1. Try and be yourself, don’t think you have to suddenly turn into somebody else in order to deliver a really good presentation. Wear your favourite clothes. 
  1. And finally enjoy presenting. At this stage you may still be thinking that’s never going to happen, but actually most presenters once they start getting into the swing of things start to enjoy presentation they are delivering, which is one of the reasons many presenters overrun on time, they simply start enjoying themselves too much and just want to keep going!

If you need help delivering your first presentation do get in touch. You can reach me on 07785 390717 or via trevor@trevorleemedia.co.uk