What separates an effective presentation from the rest isn’t always perfect execution. Sometimes, it depends on how the presenter deals with mistakes on stage. While errors are inevitable, minimizing the damage they cause should be your top priority. After all, the main point of any speech is to get your message across to the audience.
Getting affected by a small slip-up could ruin your whole performance. Don’t let self-consciousness discourage you and waste all your effort.
A Little Spontaneity is Good for You
People often prepare scripts to organize their thoughts and prevent mental blocks during a presentation. But depending too heavily on a script or your PowerPoint deck makes you appear mechanical and stiff. If you forget a word or misplace a slide, you could lose your train of thought and forget what you wanted to say.
To help you stay on track, get the gist of your presentation and assign keywords as takeoff points for each section. Using body language to emphasize your ideas feels more natural if you don’t tie yourself to a script. Make use of an animated yet natural presenting style to keep people interested and glued to your every word.
Make Yourself Accessible
A confident presenter establishes rapport with ease, but being too self-absorbed loses your audience’s interest. Aside from the obvious pet peeves that develop from blatant bragging, listeners will feel alienated or possibly offended by too much confidence. This is especially true for speakers who can’t relate to a crowd’s culture or experiences. Consider other aspects of your audience beyond their interests.
Look up their education, values, and history, and consider whether or not the language you use is appropriate for the event. The right amount of self-assurance results in a higher and more positive response rate to your presentation.
How Much Preparation is Too Much Preparation?
It’s often said that one can never be too prepared. In some cases, however, overthinking leads to self-sabotage. Trying to cover all blind spots by repeatedly going over your presentation allows you to avoid errors both big and small. But constantly questioning yourself and the quality of your content lowers your confidence and increases self-doubt.
Take a few minutes before climbing onstage to clear your mind of unnecessary panic. Be confident in the preparations you’ve made.
Different speakers can have different ways of handling problems that come their way. The best ones are those who move on from these hurdles and still manage to deliver. Ironically, trying to create a perfect presentation limits actual performance.
Pressure to be flawless increases stress and disrupts your way of thinking – the last thing you’d want before presenting. Be spontaneous but considerate of your audience. Stay prepared but know when to step back and relax. And lastly, though a bit clichéd, trust in your own ability to overcome any presentation obstacle.
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“Business Communication for Success, v. 1.0.” Flat World Knowledge. Accessed October 2, 2015. www.catalog.flatworldknowledge.com
Featured Image: “Access” by Andre Goble from flickr.com