Public Speaking – The Four Forgotten Rules for Making a Great Presentation

So you have to give a presentation. Whether you’re a longtime speaker or preparing for your first time, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you to make sure your presentation is informative, engaging, and relevant to your audience.

Naturally, start by researching your topic and the audience you’ll be speaking to. She then creates compelling content, practices hard, and chooses her best outfit for the day of the performance. Finally, you go through your mental checklist: Body language? Check. Do you remember eye contact? Check. Breathing exercises? Check. An extra battery for your laptop? Check. Great, you’re halfway there!

However, there are some often overlooked, or even forgotten, rules of public speaking that you must implement in order to create and deliver a presentation that gets your point across, makes you sound like an expert, and is appreciated by your audience. These rules are not usually part of generic “how to make a good presentation” tip sheets. However, NOT doing them makes the difference between a presentation that is just okay and one that is professional, memorable, and downright impressive.

The next time you have to give a presentation, make sure you look like an expert by following these four forgotten rules of public speaking:

Forgotten rule #1: show up at least an hour early

A speaker must be ready and waiting for his audience, never the other way around. There are a multitude of reasons to show up at least an hour early. You will have the opportunity to configure all your equipment; get technical help if needed; and get an idea of ​​the area you will be walking in and remove any obstacles that might distract your audience and obstruct your space, such as tables, chairs, extension cords, or anything else they might trip over.

Traffic, parking, snowstorms, or subway delays will all conspire to stress you out, and you certainly don’t want to appear stressed. Once you arrive and your team is set up, you can relax and review your presentation. And if you can, greet your audience members when they arrive. Once you get to know them, they are no longer strangers and it is certainly easier to introduce them to friends than in a room full of strangers.

Bottom line, be prepared to arrive early.

Forgotten Rule #2: Murphy’s Law is waiting for you

Murphy’s Law states that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” And Murphy loves to sabotage unprepared speakers. He thinks carefully about all the things that can go wrong and prepare for them. He comes early. He brings an extra copy of the presentation from him on a memory key. He prints his slides to distribute in case he can’t connect to the projector. If you are bringing a laptop, please bring an extra battery. Be prepared to give your presentation without the benefit of your slides in the event of a technical failure. Make sure there is water nearby when you introduce yourself in case your mouth gets dry. A backup plan is your best defense.

Forgotten rule #3: Perception is everything

Your audience will watch you before you speak, throughout your presentation, and long after you’re done. However, that doesn’t seem to stop some speakers from frowning or looking too nervous before they speak. Even if you don’t feel relaxed, you should make an effort to appear to be. Your audience expects to get something out of your presentation, and it’s up to you to meet their expectations to the best of your ability. Showing your anxiety on your face serves no other purpose than to show your audience that you lack confidence. When all else fails, ‘fake it until you make it’. And you will make it.

Forgotten rule #4: Why so loud?

Get rid of all the accessories that make noise when you move. For men, this means taking all keys and loose change out of your pocket. Women should choose jewelry and other accessories carefully. If the bracelets make noise when touched, use only one. Beware of large earrings that de-emphasize your face. Bold colors or designs can also be distracting to the audience.

The next time you have to give a presentation, keep these four forgotten rules in mind and you will impress your audience every time.

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