I can remember the first time I gave a presentation. It was my freshman year of college in my horror fiction reading class. The assignment was pretty straight forward. Choose a work from the list and present why it is considered horror fiction.
Now, I’ve never been a shy person. In high school, I was a bit of a social butterfly. Yet standing in front of my classmates and professor made my throat feel a little tight. I felt a slight tremble in my hands holding my notes. Luckily, the tremble didn’t make it into my voice.
Thinking forward, I was planning to major in some discipline in business. My assumption was that I would be doing many business presentations. Little did I know that my path to remedy my jitters would be the best advice that I could ever give to anyone: Practice, practice, practice.
Public speaking is still the #1 fear in America. Looking at it from another angle, comedian Jerry Seinfeld says that if you were at a funeral, more people would rather be in the casket than give the eulogy. That’s right, people would rather die than speak in front of a crowd.
Whether I’m working with an individual, small business or sales professionals, my most important piece of advice is that you practice. One of the most common mistakes that I see is that too much time is spent thinking about what you want to say and not enough time spent practicing the delivery. Many think that the words will magically come out of your mouth, but it usually doesn’t work out that way.
You’re probably wondering, “how much practice do I need?” At a minimum, you should have a 1 to 1 ratio of preparation to practice. If you spend an hour to put that presentation together, then spend at least an hour practicing the delivery of your presentation. I’ve never heard anyone say that they over-practiced. Making this small change in how you spend your time will give you better results towards connecting with your audience.
Keep telling your story,
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