When I started to think about this topic, I had the heading as “Making Your First BIG Presentation”.
But that not really fair, is it?
Making your first presentation whether its your very first presentation or the first time you are presenting to a different, larger, more influencial group still needs some basic elements to make it as successful as you can.
It’s all about preparation.
When you think about people who have to speak in public as part of their daily lives, such as the British royal family, do you think they prepare before a speech? I know they do.
I know they have a practice run, they work with their speech writers or prepare the speech themselves, I know they get nervous before they begin to speak. I saw an image of Prince Harry recently practicing his speech for an Invictus Games opening ceremony – on stage with his notes, only his wife in the audience of a huge venue already set up for the next day’s ceremony.
If people who speak in public constantly still find value in practicing and preparing then why wouldn’t you?
Preparation is the key.
The more you know your audience, the venue and why you are speaking to them, the more natural your presentation will become.
Practise, practise, practise.
When you get to the moment of your presentation, the more you have practiced and prepared, the less you will feel nervous because you will have left nothing to chance. If you haven’t given the presentation the preparation it deserves you will go to the stage with a niggling thought that you should have done more, this will take over your thinking and the nerves and mistakes will follow very quickly after that!
My only other suggestion is to get to know the venue. Stand where you will stand for your presentation so you can get some markers for where to look whilst you are speaking. This also means that when you do get up to speak, you are less likely to feel any overwhelm at the thought of where you are at the very moment when you should be concentrating on making your great first impression.
Your first speech or your first “big” speech will always be memorable. Make it a memory that you can recall with pleasure not one you wish you could forget.