To Banish Fear… Prepare

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There you are, at your workshop or presentation standing in front of your audience.  Many fears are ruminating through your mind at once.

  • Will I remember my speech?
  • Will the audience think I’m credible?
  • Will I freeze?
  • Will they think I suck?
  • What if I can’t remember what to say?
  • What if people are disappointed?
  • Will they ask for a refund or will they company hire me again?

Oh my gosh, you are feeling stage fright!  “Find an excuse to get out of here”  is your first thought.

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Just like YOU, most speakers get nervous just before their presentation.  Sometimes, they are nervous long before the speech. No one ever seems to get completely over it.   However, there are some parts of the show YOU can control, your parts, so you can eliminate some of the anxiety.    As far as the audience’ reaction is concerned, at this moment that’s out of your control. After you start, you can use time-tested and proven techniques to have them in the palm of your hands. But right now… first things first! Take care of the first part, and the second part takes care of itself.

  1. Prepare the content. Having solid material for your workshop or presentation is something you can control.    Make sure that you are clear about what your participants are expecting and deliver it. Make sure that the information is solid. Be solid on facts and be careful with opinions. Make sure that your stats are correct. Although you don’t always have to state your sources… you should have them anyway just in case someone asks you where you got your ‘facts’ from. Go over the content and know it inside and out.  Be familiar with it.
  2. Practice presenting the key parts. Actually say them out loud. Brainstorm questions that the audience will throw at you and practice responding. Some people memorize their presentation. First, that will depend on the length of the presentation. Secondly, if you do memorize, you should still have it written out and in front of you…. Just in case you get tongue-tied, distracted, or you forget parts of it. I don’t particularly like memorizing, but it works for some people. In our upcoming video presentation on Public Speaking Fear, I will give you tons of strategies… only one of which involves memorizing your speech or presentation. If you presentation is long… like ninety minutes… you can forget about trying to remember that! Be sure all of your statements can be backed up with solid research.  You don’t want someone questioning your credibility at the workshop.
  3. Know your audience. In your preparation for your presentation, you should do an analysis of who your audience will be. Are they new to the topic, or are they experts at the topic you are presenting on?  People in your audience might very well know more about the topic than you do.  Therefore, I always suggest to our students that they pick an angle of a topic in which they are experts! If you find out that they are other experts in your audience… use them. (We can show you how.)

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