Applying these 7 steps proves that anyone can present.
All of a sudden, I could not breathe then I started sweating, my voice was disappearing and becoming broken, also, my heart was beating rapidly. I had to stop: “Sorry. I feel a bit nervous.” I looked at everybody in the room. They were looking at me quietly, they did not really look taken aback or anything. They were just sitting. “Great! Now that I got that out of the way, on with my presentation,” I thought to myself.
This was 1993 and it was not the first time I present. By then, I was a seasoned consultant with five years of experience under my belt. But the occurrence made me think: Why do we get stage fright? How can we overcome it? Later I found out that these were the wrong questions to ask. Why waste the time on such questions? The real question is: How can I “rock” as a presenter? How can I get a standing ovation? How can I convince? Another real question is: How do I do this without becoming somebody else? Without having to practice and study presenting? How do I do this for my presentation tomorrow? or is this impossible?
The good news is that you can become the best presenter you can be right now right this second, impossible? let us try together.
- Take a moment to list the things that can make you a great presenter. Get a pen and paper. do not do this without pen and paper.
- Next I need you to sit down in a quiet place, and close your eyes. See yourself presenting better than any pro you have ever seen presenting. Notice how you look like. Notice your moves, what you are wearing, your facial expressions, how you are feeling, how you are speaking, etc. I need you to notice everything. Spend like five minutes or so doing this.
- Now I want you to prepare yourself to rehearse presenting. Answer the following questions for me:
- If you were the best presenter on earth, how would you feel? remember this feeling
- If you cannot fail, how would you look? remember this look.
- If what you are going to tell your audience is the most important thing for them ever. how would you feel? remember this feeling
- If you were the most confident person on earth, how would you look? remember this look
- Finally, record yourself presenting just like you imagined you looked in steps 2 and 3 above. The only preparation I need you to do is to get yourself through steps 2 and 3 and feeling like the most confident top presenter in the world. If this is so difficult for you, imagine that we are playing a game of “pretend.” You have nothing to lose and it can be a lot of fun. Enjoy it and play with it. But do it right. Stand up. speak as if your audience is there. do this for five minutes.
- Review the recording. Do not expect it to be perfect yet. This is your chance to perfect it. Imagine this is not you. It is someone else. You are a member of the audience now. What would you advise yourself to do / or not to do to look and sound more confident and professional? Repeat step 4 and 5 three times.
- Compare your last recording with the first one you did. Rate the first presenter (you in the first recording) and the last presenter (you in the last recording). If you scored less than 10/10 on the last one, what do you think you should do to get a ten?
- Finally, do one last presentation recording, as if it was the last presentation you will ever make. Make it memorable. Make it “the ten.” Review it. Score it. How much did you improve?