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Should You Memorize Your Presentation?

If there’s one thing people fear worse than death itself, it’s public speaking.

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Professional speakers and experienced executives will often hire PowerPoint design services to focus on the visual aspect of their presentation. This way, they can maximize their time for speech preparation.

Sure, it can be nerve-wracking, but if done right, it will always feel fulfilling in the end.

Once you address your anxiety, it might make you a bit paranoid, but don’t worry about it—many people deal with this, too, and everyone has their own way of dealing with it.

While there are those who consider memorization as a means to reduce anxiety, others may find it difficult, consequently adding to their stress.

 

Dr. Genard, author of Fearless Speaking, thinks memorizing speeches is a terrible idea. To him, reciting from memory detaches the speaker from the audience. In addition, it makes them sound stiff and mechanical.

The moment stress and anxiety kick in, all the information you’ve memorized will disappear. These hijack the brain and reduce fluid intelligence—or the ability to solve problems, as observed by Sian Beilock, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago.

 

Instead of memorizing your presentation, rehearse as much as you can. Ask your peers to critique and give their feedback so you can apply these to the way you present.

Knowing the pitch like the back of your hand results in you delivering your pitch conversationally, making it easier for your audience to pick up on the emotions and reactions you’re trying to coax from them.

 

Break your ideas into bite-sized chunks and get to know the gist of each one, so you can describe them on your own later on. By then, it will become easy for you to play around with concepts to compare and contrast them with. This allows for a more authentic, on-the-spot performance, as you’re telling it with your own voice—making your expertise on the subject shine.

 

Darlene Price, a communications coach and the president of Well Said, Inc., stated in an article with Business Insider, that memorizing your opening is fine and recommended since the beginning of the pitch often carries a rush of adrenaline, empowering you to start strong and make a confident first impression.

The way you deliver your speech matters more than the content. No matter how interesting the information may be, if you’re lacking confidence, it’s just not going to come out right. You may end up selling your presentation short when you could be convincing people to trust you and what you’re promoting.

Above all, reciting a memorized pitch takes the authenticity and fun out of presenting. While custom PowerPoint presentations can provide the key points of your discussion, it’s still up to you to carry the flow of conversation with confidence.

Presentation anxiety is normal and you shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. The only way to lessen it is to make sure that you’re prepared for it and for what your audience may ask you at the end of your pitch. Accept their feedback gracefully and take note of these, so you can improve and deliver your next presentation with more confidence and conviction.

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References:

Smith, Jacquelyn. “11 Tips for Calming Your Nerves Before A Big Presentation.” Business Insider. June 23, 2014. www.businessinsider.com/tips-for-calming-nerves-before-a-speech-2014-6

Shellenbarger, Sue. “A Faux Pas Recovery Plan.” The Wall Street Journal. December 22, 2015. www.wsj.com/articles/a-faux-pas-recovery-plan-1450821565

Beilock, Sian. “Math Performance in Stressful Situations.” The University of Chicago. 2008. hpl.uchicago.edu/sites/hpl.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/Beilock_CurrDir_2008.pdf

3 Facts You Didn’t Know About Professional Presentations

Don’t stress yourself out by overthinking what’ll happen during your next presentation. Soothe yourself by recalling positive experiences instead of pondering over negative and heartbreaking ones. Remember that your audience sees you as a professional speaker. They believe in you and they understand how you feel whenever you stand and speak in front of a crowd.

While some presenters spend too much time preparing great pitches and interactive PowerPoint decks, they barely notice how simple things such as their body language, facial expression, tone of voice, and eye contact matter.

Since these elements contribute to your entire presentation’s success, you need to be more aware of how you can use these effectively. Here are three unexpected truths which most presenters overlook:

1. Treating Your Audience as an Ally Reduces Your Anxiety

Though not all your audience members will like you or be pleased with you, a majority of them want you to succeed. Don’t be afraid of what others will think of you.

The main reason why they decided to attend your presentation is because they’re interested in learning from you, not to judge how you look or how you speak. In fact, according to public speaking coach Laurent Duperval, as long as you can engage them and give your product’s benefits, the audience is on your side.

2. Having the Right Motive Allows You to Win and Be the Best

Competition is common to all individuals, especially in today’s business. However, winning is not about looking down on others or treating them as your enemy. Making fun of those who fail isn’t how you’ll be viewed as the best.

True professionals know how to treat their competition well. Remember that when you present, there are people who might oppose you, yet still want you to perform well and not degrade you, especially when you overcome challenges while presenting.

Since it’s about them, treat your audience as your partners. This will help you connect with them personally and allow yourself to calm down. The best way to do this is to focus on your audience’s desires more than your own.

3. Keeping Up the Momentum Results in a Better Performance

Whether you like it or not, some of your performance won’t be perfect. You can only do your best and move on from any mistakes you may encounter in your presentation.

Even failures help you become better and more effective next time. The best way to do this is to be open about your disappointments and see how you can use this to your advantage for next time.

While it’s true that these little things affect your performance, your goal is to meet your audience’s expectations and satisfy their needs. If ever you fail or make a mistake, they want you to get going and not give up. Don’t think about the negative effects of failure. Instead, consider it as your stepping stone to improve and excel.

Conclusion

Most presenters are more concerned about crafting great pitches and PowerPoint decks, but aren’t paying attention to simple facts that can also benefit their professional presentations. Your audience doesn’t want you to fail. They want you to be the best as you deliver your message that will undoubtedly meet their needs.

To craft a more effective PowerPoint presentation, let SlideGenius experts help you out!

 

References

Body Language: Signify Intent with Movement.” SlideGenius, Inc. October 20, 2014. Accessed August 04, 2015.
The Audience Is On Your Side.” Duperval. Accessed August 04, 2015.