after all, you’re likely to encounter a situation at some point in your life that requires it, and being able to communicate effectively and comfortably is a skill that makes you more marketable to employers and more confident as a person. manage your expectations, and know that your first attempt may not be the best presentation you’ve ever given. outside of groups like toastmasters, you can practice on your own in front of a mirror, as well as friends and family. don’t cross your arms, in front of you or behind your back, the latter of which yana says sends the signal that you don’t want to be noticed and you lack confidence.
“if you are able to walk around and even make eye contact with the audience, not only does it allow you to relate more to [them], but it [also] shows you are grounded and firm in what you are saying.” of course, remember when you do stand still to go back to that grounded, feet-shoulder-width-apart position. “i find that if i’m focusing on giving value to the audience rather than focusing on what they think of me, it takes a lot of pressure off,” josephine says. depending on the seriousness of your presentation, smiling throughout may not be appropriate, but yana says flashing a genuine smile in your introduction will not only make you feel more positive, but it will also warm up the audience. the more of this you do, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to harness your nerves for good, rather than letting them derail you. the material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of condé nast.
the more you know about your audience beforehand the better. what do they expect to hear? what would they like to hear? so the more background you can get about the audience, the more reassuring that is for you — and the less chance you’ll get a nasty surprise on the day. people don’t mind you reading a script so long as you look up frequently at the audience. you can also allow for a few ad libs and throwaway lines that are quite spontaneous, so that it’s not all just read off the page. some people suggest taking long deep breaths beforehand but i think you’re more likely to tense up if you do that. don’t think about yourself; think about what you’re about to say. if you’re sure of what you’re saying and believe in it, then you’re well ahead of your audience because they don’t know what to expect. look around the room to build up a certain amount of expectation, and look around at the audience. the trap you often see business leaders and politicians fall into is jargon.
look up at the audience. you see a number of public speakers and business leaders who look at the ceiling or the wall or their notes and they don’t make any kind of connection with their audience. even if you don’t meet them eye-to-eye, you should at least spread your glance around the crowd so that they know you’re talking to them and not the furniture. so avoid trying to tell jokes unless you’re exceptionally good at it. for the rest of us, the best way to introduce humour is through personal anecdotes related to your subject matter. speakers often worry about what to do with their hands. of course, using your hands can help to demonstrate something or tell a story — but don’t overdo it with hand gestures. in the wake of job cuts, you may receive job offers from former clients. acuity is the home of sharp thinking on matters of economics, business and finance. for the latest trends, expert advice and insightful interviews, sign up to acuity today. members of ca anz are not liable for the debts and liabilities of ca anz
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