If you’re in a marching band, you better be in step with your fellow band members.
If you are in a play, chorus, or orchestra and forget your lines, the song, or play your instrument at the wrong time – you’re in a bad place!
When delivering a presentation, it’s an entirely different story. No one, unless you say something, knows but you! Also, no one cares! They don’t have a printed version of your talk where they’re following along and checking that your spoken word matches.
Some speakers write their presentation and think they must memorize every word of their talk. They also want to have all aspects of their speech – Perfect! That mindset creates a lot of anxiety and is one of the reasons people have a Fear of Public Speaking. The negative self-talk is something like this:
- “What if I forget something?”
- “What if I mispronounce a word?”
- “What if the audience doesn’t laugh when I say something funny?”
- “What if my slide show doesn’t work perfectly?”
- “What if I have a “brain freeze” and forget what I’m talking about?
That kind of thinking and strategy will, most likely, not give the desired results.
Here are a few facts to keep in mind.
- If you try memorizing, word for word, your talk, you’ll have a tougher time delivering it in a conversational manner.
A good presentation should be delivered as if you are speaking one-on-one to each attendee. They should feel that connection with you.
Trying “not to miss anything” will likely hurt many of the verbal and nonverbal elements of your talk; things like eye contact, facial expressions, and gestures.
- Not being ‘Perfect’ is something everyone in your audience can relate to.
- If you’ve written your speech, you’re trying to memorize ‘words.’ That is tough because it is not easy to “see those printed words, text, in your mind’s eye.”
Having notes or an outline doesn’t necessarily help. There is a tendency to put more and more notes so “absolutely nothing is left out.” Taking this to the extreme, you might as well include everything and read your speech!
One way to avoid this “Drive to Perfection” is to develop, practice, and deliver your presentation using Images. We think in terms of images.
Example: If I say the word apple, you most likely don’t “see” the letters a-p-p-l-e. You probably see something round and red with a stem coming out of the top, correct?
The images you use will make the correct associations in your mind to tell the stories they remind you of. Those stories reinforce the points made in the body of your presentation.
Put those images into a Mind Map and/or into the slides of your presentation. Practice your presentation looking at the images on the Mind Map or slides. After a while, that should be all you’ll need to deliver your talk.
Do that and I guarantee your next presentation will be absolutely, positively – NO SWEAT!
About the Author
Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and the author of the book,
“NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”
Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their
Networking, Public Speaking, and Presentation Skills.
They do this because they know:
Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.
They also know:
We perceive really great speakers to be Experts.
Perception is reality, and we like to work with Experts.
He shows them how to:
Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with –
- Keynote Speaker
- Workshop Facilitator
- Breakout Sessions
- Public Speaking and Presentation Coaching
- Lessening The Fear of Public Speaking with – NO SWEAT!
- Crafting Your Elevator Speech, Floor by Floor with – NO SWEAT!
- Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.
- We are All Self-Employed!
Fred E. Miller