Econnect Communication > Top tips > Managing nerves when presenting
 

Managing nerves when presenting

Presenting technical concepts to a small audience of your peers can be as nerve‑wracking as presenting to a large group of lay people.

These tips for will help you to present with confidence and deliver with style to any audience.

Prepare

  1. The most important element of your presentation is your audience – consider them first. What benefit will they get from listening to you?
  2. Your style (the way you deliver your presentation) is more important to the audience than the content or visual aids – think about how you will engage the audience.
  3. ‘Super-prepare’ your introduction to give you a confident start.
  4. Memorise your opening and closing sentences.
  5. Start with an anecdote or a funny story; once you have the audience and yourself smiling, you can all relax. Use signposts within your presentation so that people know where you’re taking them.
  6. Use visual aids only to add impact or help you explain something.
  7. To win the battle between clarity, detail and time, cut back on the detail and build in time for pauses.
  8. Prepare a strong exit line for your conclusion.
  9. Rehearse and time your presentation.
  10. Check again that your information will meet the likely expectations and needs of your audience. What benefit will they get from listening to you?

On the day

  1. Check out the venue in advance, and check your visual aids on the venue’s equipment.
  2. Before you get up to speak, talk to someone out loud; otherwise your voice might break or sound thin and reedy. Do some simple exercises to shake out any excess energy. Take deep breaths; breathe from your abdomen.
  3. Have a single page of dot‑point notes or a series of palm cards to hand.
  4. Breathe throughout your talk. Take pauses. Sip some water.
  5. Look at the audience – they are there to hear what you have to say.
  6. Be enthusiastic about your topic – enthusiasm is infectious.
  7. If you lose your way, pause, look at your notes, find a place to restart (it doesn’t matter if you miss a bit or repeat a bit), look at the audience and start again.
  8. You can’t know everything. If you are asked a question that you don’t know how to answer, that’s fine. Say that you don’t have the answer at hand right now, but could look into it and let them know.
  9. Focus on the audience and the benefit to them from listening – it is all about them!