When you are presenting in a meeting, do you ever like your team isn’t engaged, that they are there physically, but their minds are elsewhere? If so, you’re not alone. As a public speaking coach, I meet many professionals who feel the same way.
Recently, I met with Carol. She had just been promoted to assistant vice president in her corporation, and one of her new responsibilities was causing her anguish.
When she contacted me, I asked, “What made you pick up the phone and call me?”
She answered, “Peter, one of my new responsibilities is to speak at a monthly meeting, and it’s not going well. To begin with, I am extremely nervous, and then, to make matters worse, I feel like no one is listening to me, which makes me more nervous. At this point, I wish I had not taken the promotion.”
I told Carol that, while working together, she would learn how to create and deliver compelling presentations. But it was when I explained how the 5 Rs of Presentation Preparation would help turn her nervousness into positive energy that she seemed most intrigued.
In this article, you will learn about the 5 Rs of Presentation Preparation and how they can help you manage your nervousness and engage your listeners.
Once you create a presentation, you must rehearse it! Yes, rehearse. I know… you don’t want to rehearse. In fact, you have at least three valid reasons why rehearsing won’t work for you. That may be, but if you want to be calm and deliver a message that others listen to and benefit from, you need to rehearse.
Think about it… professionals rehearse, including singers, musicians, firefighters, soldiers, athletes, teams, dancers, comedians, magicians, politicians, and many others. Some of these professions refer to rehearsing as practice or training, but they do it because they understand that the repetition all but guarantees a positive outcome.
The best tool ever
You already own the greatest tool made to assist both burgeoning and veteran public speakers. And unlike some technology that can be confusing, this is easy to implement.
Before this technology was available, the generations before us rehearsed in front of mirrors. And although mirrors provide an accurate reflection of what you are doing, looking into one while practicing results in your trying to think, speak, critique, and correct, all at the same time. There’s just too much going on for this to be truly helpful.
Then video cameras came along. They were a huge leap forward. But let’s face it, even with all their advancements, video cameras could be cumbersome.
But now we have the best tool to date… a phone – more specifically, the video recorder in your phone. It’s easy to use, and you can record anytime and just about anywhere. You can play it back anytime you want – in your home, on a plane, in a restaurant. Anywhere!
You have this little miracle of technology in your hands every day, so there’s no reason not to use it unless you’re afraid you won’t like what you see – afraid that you’ll discover what no one would tell you.
Well, you may not like what you see, but isn’t that the point? To become a more effective speaker, you need to know how others see you. Only then can you build upon your strengths and minimize your distractions.
How to use it
Here’s how I suggest that you use your phone’s video to help you become the dynamic public speaker you want to be. Record yourself delivering your presentation. Do it as if you were in front of your audience. Include every gesture, inflection, pause, and movement that you would typically use.
Next, listen to your presentation without looking at it. How did it sound? Would your opening grab an audience’s attention? How was the pace? Your inflections? Did you emphasize the words you wanted to? Did you hear opportunities for triads or alliterations? Did you end on a powerful note? Make notes as you listen.
Then, with the sound off, review the video, taking notes along the way. What did you see? What did you like or not like about your body language and other non-verbal communication? Did you gesture enough? Too much? Did you convey confidence? Did you pace? Were you stuck in one place like a tree? How did your face look? Were you smiling? Did you frown?
Next, watch and listen to the video, again taking notes about what you like and what you want to change. Then start the process all over again.
Yes, it’s time-consuming, but as Carol learned, it is well worth it. Now, she is relaxed when delivering her presentation, knowing that she is as prepared as possible.
If you’re serious about being calm when speaking in front of others, engaging your audience, and moving people to action, take advantage of this valuable and easy-to-use technology.
Remember… rehearse, record, review, revise, and repeat!