It’s not surprising 74 percent of people suffer from glossophobia, the fear of public speaking. The reality is at some point, your life as a small business owner will require you to make a speech--whether to a local networking group, a trade industry function or to potential investors. Besides having a well-thought-out speech and a beautiful presentation slide show, there are many steps you can take to make the presentation go smoothly.
Here are five:
1. Know Your Venue
Find out from the event coordinator what kind of room you’ll be speaking in. Will there be spotlight lighting? Is there Wi-Fi? Is there a screen you can use or do you need to bring your own? The more information you can find out, the better. If it’s a large room, you may need to adjust your slides so people in the back can see. If you need to provide your own extension cords or cabling, you need to know. Don’t be afraid to ask for seats to be arranged in a certain way in order to increase engagement.
2. Arrange For Amenities
In addition to asking about the setup, find out about amenities. For example, is the room air-conditioned? Will the venue provide water, or give out paper and pencils so people can take notes? If the venue doesn’t provide things like paper, pens or water bottles, you can always plan to bring your own as a promotional strategy. If you’re traveling a distance to the speech, find out whether the venue has a printing center so you can just send a file instead of having to print out material and bring it with you.
3. Use the Cloud
Store all your speech material using cloud storage such as Google Drive. That way, if you forget anything back at your office, you can always access it from your laptop or tablet.
4. Do a Test Run
If possible, arrive early to the venue and practice your presentation with one of your team members in the audience. Ask for honest feedback on your speech, but also make sure all the technical aspects of the presentation are working. You don’t want to be surprised on presentation day when your computer is suddenly slow to load. (I always bring a backup of the presentation on a thumb drive.)
5. Get Acquainted
If you’re not sure who else is speaking and what they are talking about, make sure you find out before you present. You don’t want to be repeating information. Also, ask to look over the list of people attending your presentation. If you can tailor your presentation to your audience, you’ll have a better chance of making your point.
With these steps you can be sure that your presentation will be well prepared for. And even though things happen, and presentations don't always go as planned, you know that you've done everything you could to ensure it goes smoothly.
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