You tell a colleague that you are nervous about the presentation you are giving tomorrow and she responds, “Don’t worry — you’ll do fine.” What I would tell you is that you can feel prepared and (somewhat) relaxed if you have…
Practice: Practiced the talk out loud with at least one person who is like a typical audience member.
Technology: Practiced using the technology. For example, if you plan to use a remote mouse, then you should rehearse using that mouse.
Changing slides: Checked to be sure your PowerPoint file slides will change only when you click. If this feature is not on the manual setting, your slides will automatically move based on the last rehearsal you did using the rehearsal feature in PowerPoint. To set, go to the Slide Show tab of the Ribbon, then click Set Up Show. Under Advance slides, select Manually.
Clothes: Decided what you will wear, and have worn that outfit at least one other time to make sure it looks and feels comfortable.
Directions: Have directions to the location and have checked to be sure the required equipment will be available.
Audience mix: You have called and made sure that the audience you were told to expect will be there for your talk. You don’t want to be surprised at the last moment by an audience that is not the one you prepared for.
Opening lines: You have practiced out loud your key opening lines. This is not the beginning of the presentation when you go over the agenda. Rather, these are the comments that will engage your audience. Mention the three key points your audience will take away form the talk, the three reasons why they will be glad they attended, or the two benefits they will be able to take back and use on the job. You decide what you audience needs to hear up front. You will capture their attention as soon as they hear that they will actually be able to use the information you are presenting.
Claudyne Wilder is guest lecturer at conferences, business shows and corporate events. She is the creator of three presentation seminars: “The Winning Presentations Seminar,” “The Winning Presentations Sales Seminar;” and “Creating PowerPoint Presentations That Get Your Point Across.” She offers “The Winning Presentations Seminar publicly about six times a year. She also licenses this seminar to companies and consultants to teach.