of the situation- if you have an audience of
one or 1000, if your boss is having you give a presentation
just to see if you can give a presentation, if you're interviewing
for a job, if you're introducing yourself- it's always about
helping your audience in some way. It's not about you.
Don't worry about what your audience
is thinking about you. They aren't nearly as
interested in you as they are in themselves. It's a busy
complicated world, and everyone has things to deal with-family,
job, crises, deadlines, office politics. Maybe they'd think
about you if they didn't have so many things demanding their
attention. But that's not the case. So they're not thinking
Don't focus on getting all your
facts right. Focus on helping the audience get
what they need in order to move forward. That shift in focus
will cause you to think in terms of the bigger picture,
thereby ensuring that you actually remember the facts you
need. You put the presentation in context of it's relevance
to all concerned rather than the narrow focus on how you
Before doing anything about organizing
your presentation, put yourself in audience mode.
Look at the presentation from their perspective. To do that,
you'll probably have to ask questions-of yourself, of some
of your audience members, of the person requesting the presentation.
Taking time to pinpoint the audience's focus will help you
organize more quickly and deliver the presentation more
Be cautious about using presentation
software to organize your presentation. Used
as designed it will propel you into a less audience centered
presentation, wordier slides and probably more slides than
you need. Before touching the software, know your audience,
be clear on your subject, and identify the end result you
want from this presentation. Knowing the end result (your
objective, what you want to accomplish, what you want the
audience to do), is vital to a successful, dynamic presentation.
If you don't want the audience to do anything, maybe you
should consider e-mailing the information instead of presenting
Don't waste time worrying about
needing to work on your presentation if you don't
have time to work on it right then. You'll weaken your effectiveness
on what you are working on and only increase your anxiety
regarding the presentation. Once you give it your full focus,
you'll move right ahead on it. Trust that, and refuse to
give in to the temptation to worry. It's self defeating.
Immediately upon receiving word
about your upcoming presentation, take a few
minutes to focus on what you want to accomplish with it.
(And ask the person who delivers the assignment for any
information they have about the audience, and the intended
purpose and outcome of the presentation.) Fifteen minutes
of immediate focus to determine who will be in the audience,
(what they want and need to know, how they feel about the
subject, etc.) as well as what you want them to do as a
result of your presentation, will ensure that you can forget
about it until you have sufficient time to think about it
and do it justice.
Don't nurture nervousness.
It's tempting to allow the fear to fill your thought. Instead,
every time you feel anxious, remind yourself of the purpose
of the presentation, and of the benefits of the message
to your listeners. Thinking about your fears and possible
visions of failure won't move the process along, nor do
anything positive. There is a purpose and a benefit. Remember
Nervousness is a choice.
You can choose to focus on your message and it's benefits
to the listener or you can choose to focus on yourself and
all the possible things that could go wrong. You have the
power to make that choice.
The single most important thing
you can do to make your presentation powerful and effective
is to keep your mouth closed until your mind is in gear.
Resist the urge to start speaking just because you're up
in front or because you think the audience expects you to
say something. You'll only say something you regret and
make yourself feel out of control for the entire presentation.
The silence will give you time to breathe and focus, and
your audience will see you as credible.
For more information, contact:
Barbara Rocha and Associates
PO Box 60521, Pasadena, California 91116