You may think that presentation skills come with age, but reality has proven otherwise. There is zero doubt that you can learn a trick or two in regards to becoming a masterful presenter and a large number of them boil down to getting decent practice.
The practice is not just a way to get a better idea of what you need to focus on, but it is also what your brain needs. When you do some task, it is your brain that coordinates the motor functions, sensory processing and verbal skills. The process is called myelination, which is exactly what practice triggers. That is your brain’s way of telling you that you have done it before, and you can do it again, only better.
Now that you have learned that practice has a way to make your presentations better, you need to learn effective ways of practising. But before that…
What should you practice
Body language makes a major part of the way you appear in front of your audience. It involves hand gestures, posture, facial expressions, movements and so much more.
Practice doesn’t just mean memorising your speech and knowing what to answer the most common questions. It is knowing your content backwards and forwards but in a natural way. It is learning how to provide it smoothly, instead of just drilling the major points.
Effective ways to practice
Now that you know practice is important and you know what aspects of the presentation to practice, it is time you learn some ways to make the process more effective.}
Don’t sit down
As you practice, make it a point to stand up, and not remain seated. It is very likely that you will be standing tall when the time comes. That way the experience will be more familiar to you.
Do not practice alone
All presentations share one simple thing: you perform them in front of an audience. There is hardly any use of practising alone. Much better to contact some friends and practice your speech in front of them. If that is not possible, record the practice session to gauge the way you speak and behave during the speech so that you can remove any mistakes.
Try the ‘opposite’ approach
One common way to fix mistakes in your presentation after identifying them is to try doing the exact opposite thing. For example, if you see yourself talking too quickly, try slowing down as much as possible. This way you will have a nice idea of how to balance the flaw.
Add some background noise
In an effort to fully recreate the setting of a presentation, you should add some background noise to your practice. It can be music or chatter. That way you will have better focus when the time comes because you will learn how to overcome distractions.
Break down your presentation
If you think your message is too long and hard to grasp, try breaking down your points into small chunks. When you do the presentation in sections, and the sections into sentences, you will find it easier to navigate and learn how to present efficiently.
How often should you practice
Don’t believe the myth that too much practice will undermine your authenticity. When you internalise your material, you will actually feel free to improvise if an opportunity arises. Getting more practice over a longer period of time will help you. Avoid cramming all of your practice hours just before doing the presentation, as that could have a negative impact on it.
Now that you know more about the importance of practice and how to make the most of it, you are ready to conquer your presentation.
Find out more great tips at Presence Training.
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Did you know that the average person finds natural disasters, theft, loneliness, ghosts and even the very thought of death less frightening than giving out a public speech? Strange as it may seem, more people are afraid to stand up in front of an audience and deliver a speech than they are of all of the aforementioned things. It has even become an official phobia – glossophobia.
Despite the fact you may feel dread at the very thought of public speaking, you must understand that it is an essential skill for advancing in your career, presenting ideas or closing a major business deal. To be successful, you can use the following tips for overcoming the fear of public speaking, all of which can help you overcome it:
Mindful breathing – when you are nervous, your breathing becomes shallow, and you may feel shortness of breath. Needless to say, this only makes the problem of nervousness worse and makes you appear bad. To overcome this sensation, you need better control of your breath. Taking deep breaths before your presentation can calm you down, as well as doing so during the speech. The time it takes you to take one full deep breath is enough to ease any nervousness you may be feeling. One more benefit is that deep breathing maintains your voice centred and eliminates the chance of uptalk, which can be detrimental to your credibility during a presentation.
Practice makes perfect – you know well enough that it takes a lot of practice to hone any skill. But when doing that, you really should try to emulate the same experience as speaking in front of an audience. There are few ways to do so. For starters, you can wear the same outfit to note if you are comfortable enough in it. Next, don’t just rehearse on your own. Call friends or family members to hear you out and ask them for feedback. You can also record your rehearsal or make a video to better correct any mistakes. All of this will have a massive impact on your readiness and help you feel less scared.
Change your views on public speaking – many people believe that public speaking is a talent and you either have it, or you don’t. However, this sort of thinking can hold you back and lead you to fear public speaking. You must think of it as a skill, which you can learn and perfect with sufficient training.
You need to be yourself – a large part of your stress may be coming from the fact that you think public speaking is a lot like acting. However, you really don’t need to be someone else or learn to pretend. In fact, the most effective way to reach your audience is to be yourself. Let your personality shine through, as that will leave a lasting impression.
Get off to a good start – how you open a public speech sets the tone for the rest of it. Remember to have a strong opening, perhaps a light joke to crack the ice. Needless to say, you should practice this whenever you get the chance since it makes such a big difference to the overall speech.
Do not overthink – if you are too concentrated on your speech, chances are you will feel quite nervous. According to experts, it is a thing that can trip you up, so you should tell yourself to be calm and keep your composure.
These are all fantastic ways to combat the fear of public speaking. Make sure you implement them all, and you will find out just how much better you will be able to speak in front of an audience.
At Presence Training you can find more useful information on overcoming the fear of public speaking.
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If you ever do research on public speaking, you will find numerous great examples. It is true that the people these speeches belong to have invested quite a lot of effort and skill to present the masterpiece for you to admire. Perhaps the one thing in common they all have is that they do their best to avoid some common problems in speeches. This is what separates them from the ‘good’ speeches. If you wish to get on the ‘great’ level, make sure you avoid the following problems:
By avoiding these simple problems, you can undoubtedly improve your public speaking skills and become a better speaker.
Find out what other aspects of public speaking you can improve with Presence Training by calling 020 7112 9194 or take a look at this page.
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