Are you preparing for your first big presentation at work? Or, maybe it’s been a while since your last speaking engagement and you’d like to brush up on some do’s and don’ts? Speaking in front of a large group is something that can send anyone into a flurry of nerves. But, fear not. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for, and deliver, your best presentation yet:

Properly planning for your presentation will help you feel prepared and confident when it comes time to deliver.

  • Thoroughly research the subject matter you’re presenting on. If you’ve been asked to speak on a topic, you’re probably already an expert in it. But, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on current trends, recent changes or other anecdotal information to make sure you’re maximizing your presentation.
  • Find out who your audience will be. You’ll need to know who you’re talking to in order to organize and present the information in a way that makes sense to attendees.
  • If you’re using a PowerPoint, Prezi or other visuals, be sure to keep them simple. Try to keep the number of words on your slides to a minimum – save the details for your talking points.

Preparation is the key to not only knowing your presentation inside and out, but also to calming your nerves.

  • Run through your presentation at least once in advance of your event. Try not to over-practice, though; you want the presentation to feel fresh and exciting, not like you’ve memorized it verbatim from a script.
  • If you haven’t given many presentations before, you may want to do your run-though in front of a mirror. This will help you see any bad habits you might have that could be distracting while you present – like swaying back and forth, saying “um” or “uh” – so you can work on fixing them beforehand.
  • If possible, it’s also a good idea to visit the venue in advance of your actual presentation to get a feel for the set-up.

The day has come. You’ve researched, prepared and practiced. You’re ready to get up on that stage.

  • Even the most seasoned presenters still get nervous before a big speech; they just don’t let on. Exude that level of confidence. Tell yourself, “I’ve got this.”
  • Make eye contact with members of the audience.
  • If you have a moveable or wireless mic, try to move around a little bit. You don’t want to run around or wave your arms so much that it’s disrupting, but some movement can help you engage more with the audience.

We hope you find these tips to be helpful for your next speaking engagement – let us know how they work for you!