5 Important Tips for First-Time Presenters

February 23, 2012
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Whether you’re a student, just getting out of school and into your new job or even established in your career, there may come a time when you will be expected to give a presentation before a group of your peers, colleagues, clients, prospective clients or some other group of people.

If you’ve never given a presentation before, you may not know where to start.  Here are 5 important tips for the first-time presenter to nail the first presentation!

  1. Get all the details. Find out how much time you have to speak, what kind of props or other presentation materials you will need to prepare (PowerPoint presentation, outlines, response forms, handouts, etc.), if someone is going to be speaking before you or after you, how many people will be in the audience, if there will be a Q&A session, and the list goes on.  Find out from those coordinating the event all of these important details so you can properly prepare.
  2. Know your audience. Part of getting all of the details is to know your audience.  Find out the general age group of your audience, along with the general type of personalities they may have (if possible) and what they’re attending this meeting for and what they’re looking to get from it.  Knowing who you’re speaking to and being able to find ways to relate to them and to connect with them will only make your presentation easier.
  3. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Don’t ever go into a presentation expecting to wing it, especially if it’s for work or you’re going to be judged or graded on your presentation skills.  Be prepared for all of the possible unexpected circumstances that may arise, such as a laptop not working or another speaker running over and into your time or your being called to speak out of order or at a different time than initially told.
  4. Practice makes perfect. Along with preparation is practice.  Practice in front of a mirror, tape record your presentation so you can hear how you sound, and better yet, practice in front of a friend or a group of colleagues that will provide you honest and open feedback about your presentation.  This is a great way to gauge your timing and to gauge the general flow of your speech.
  5. Relax and have fun. Presenters that are overly nervous about presenting can often times make their audience uncomfortable with their nervousness.  Take a deep breath and find out what techniques you can use to relax yourself before and during your presentation to get rid of any public speaking jitters.  Get eye contact with your audience, smile, use gestures and have fun with your presentation.

Implementing these 5 tips when preparing for your first presentation will help you succeed and, who knows, maybe you just gave found a new passion or talent of yours you never knew about and set yourself up to have your first presentation be the first one of many more to come in the future!  Good luck!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

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