Sweat drips down the side of your face as you wait quietly backstage, fidgeting.
Your hands are cold and clammy as you fumble through cue cards one last time, trying to recall key points to each card.
Your name gets called and you face the inevitable walk up the stage to deliver what you imagine can be the worst public humiliation of your life.
We have all been there, the uneasy, nauseating feeling of public speaking.
The one thing we fear more than death, so they say.
It doesn’t help that speaking in public is a useful, if not an essential tool to educational and professional success.
Being a good public speaker allows you to demonstrate your knowledge with authority and help you stand out in the workplace.
Therefore, we need to practice and find our own unique voices that present ideas in clear and concise ways to put ourselves in the best light.
With numerous blogs and essays on improving public speaking written everywhere, here are the best presentation techniques that we found.
You have so much knowledge you want to share, educate and persuade.
Why limit your speech to just one idea?
Because, ideas are complicated.
It takes a pitch to build up interests to an idea, a narrative to create empathy, supporting evidence to be persuasive, and a call to action to lead movements.
Instead of squeezing every ounce of your knowledge into the limited time allocated to your speech, you will be most effective to concentrate on just one core idea that your audience must understand.
Whether you are delivering a business plan in a boardroom, or speaking as a keynote speaker at a conference.
Whether you are speaking to a handful of colleagues, or a lecture theatre packed with college seniors.
The audience are there for one same reason.
The audience love you.
You may imagine the audience are there to watch you make a fool of yourself, but in fact, more often than not, they want to be there, be enlightened by your presence, and be inspired by your talk.
With all the ethnic diversity in the world, we can all learn from our differences and work towards a greater good.
As diverse as our backgrounds, despite speaking the same languages, there would be little nuances in the way we annunciate words, and the way we speak phrases.
Deliberately speaking slowly initially is not only good practice, but a good technique to allow your audience to get used to your accents.
You need your listeners to understand your words before they can understand your ideas.
Now that your audience can understand the words coming out of your mouth, we can think about how to deliver your idea.
Unless you are speaking to a family member, it’s very likely that your audience have a different background to yours.
Geographically and professionally.
The technical jargons and inside jokes that you throw around among your friends and colleagues may not work on a packed conference room.
It’s best to practice explaining your ideas to friends from different backgrounds to get a feel of how effective your presentation is.
Listening is hard.
It’s difficult to concentrate on listening to a new idea, even more so if the idea is boring.
Therefore it is your job, as a speaker, to spark curiosity in your audience to make sure both you and your audience enjoy the presentation.
Everyone loves cats.
A few common ways to spark interests include, humour, storytelling or anecdotes, funny cat videos…etc.
It is tempting to use your slide deck as a crutch, and use it slide by slide, dividing your attention between the presentation and your audience.
You will look like a tennis umpire looking back and forth, back and forth.
We are not here.
As we mentioned in point 2, the audience are here to see you, to listen to what you have to say.
It is fair to bring your best presence to deliver your speech, and only use the slides for images and videos to drive your point home, not to divert attention away from you.
Following the last point, your presentation slides are only used to support your talk, not to take over it.
Use presentation technology with caution, and only in situations where necessary.
Can you think of other tips to more effective presentations? Let us know.