Let’s talk about how to shine when you present your talk.
Start with a bit of self-calming. For some, self-calming means taking a walk or a moment of meditation before going onstage. If warrior poses in the hallway work for you, it couldn’t hurt. The key is to give yourself a little “me” time before the big event.
Watch your voice. We all know about taking deep breaths and relaxing your throat. But even more important is to know where to pause and become louder in your speech. Before getting on stage, review your talk, and note where you want to make sure the audience is absolutely attentive and how you will underscore those moments with your tone. This small bit of preparation will go a long way in ensuring your message is heard.
Practice facial expressions. Again, know the points that you want to emphasize, and ensure your facial reactions are on the mark. If you’re not confident, it doesn’t hurt to practice a few times in the mirror.
Know how to stand. Be comfortable with the space you’re given and use your hands to gesture. Rookie speakers sometimes rely on just one gesture, which can be distracting if repeated too often. Have a few in your wheelhouse before going onstage. Be aware, however, that sometimes you are forced to stand behind a lectern because it’s where the microphone is situated. If you can’t ask for a wireless microphone, try to move to the side of the lectern. You can still use your hands as much as possible, but you’ll have to rely more on your voice and tone to carry the day than gestures.
We’ve all heard stories about how much Steve Jobs practiced before a big presentation. You may not have that kind of time or stamina. However, get yourself to the point where you are as relaxed as possible and approach the task with energy and enthusiasm. Over time, an opportunity to speak will actually become enjoyable.