When you’re asked to give a presentation, how do you feel?
Perhaps the first word that comes to mind is “stressed.” Or maybe you feel confident, but you wish you could be even better.
Well, you’re in luck! Here are three easy strategies that will decrease your anxiety and increase your impact so that you can get the most out of your presentations.
1. Give up the script
You might think that to deliver a great presentation, all you need to do is memorize your script and practice until it’s perfect.
But here’s the problem: When you deliver a memorized script, you’re never fully focused on your speaking. You’re never “in the moment.” Instead, you’re trying to remember what you wrote — and when you can’t remember, you get confused and flustered.
When I was a theater director, I would allot one hour of rehearsal time for every minute of dialogue. If you have that kind of time to prepare, then you might be able to effectively deliver a memorized script. But the vast majority of people are better off working with an outline of key points instead.
2. Tell the story of your data
Another strategy for increasing your impact in presentations is to improve the way you talk about data. This is one of the major struggles that I see with leaders who come from technical backgrounds. They often think that their job is to educate, to walk people through their processes so that they understand how they reached their conclusions.
Wrong. This isn’t high school; you don’t need to show your work. You need to establish relevance by telling a compelling story about the implications of the data, not the process you used. By painting a vivid picture of what your data means, you will greatly enhance the strength of your message.