No Fear Presentations: A Guide to Public Speaking

04/09/2015 04:35 pm ET | Updated Jun 09, 2015

I will defy most on one topic...public speaking. I love it. It is an interesting thrill to be able to present to a group of people, and a sign of great respect for you. It means people are there to hear what you have to say, and that they want to learn from you. It is also something that is ever prevalent in the business world today, whether you are presenting virtually around the world or in person at your HQ. There are a few things I like to do before and during any presentation no matter if I am pitching an idea or leading a group discussion.

Research your audience and your setting
After learning you are speaking for a group, gather as much as you can about who you will speak to and what the setting will be like. If you can, speak to a member of the audience. Why is that person there? What is hurting them? Be sure to address these issues from a variety of different angles. You will gain people's trust and resonate with them. If you are looking for an easy and clear way to do this, download this job aid that walks you through how to identify and speak to different preferences.

Build and practice
Build your presentation with the above research in mind. You'll likely be using PowerPoint or some other aid. Don't be someone out of Office Space using PowerPoint. Be a PowerPoint master. Your slides should support your words. They should not BE your words. Create a dynamic experience for your audience.

GIF via Giphy

Integrate your Q&A
I imagine you as the most interesting person in the world. But even the most interesting person in the world has a challenge to overcome the human's limited attention span, and that is decreasing the more digital we get. Engage your audience with mini Q&A sessions sprinkled in as "checkpoints." This helps create a discussion out of your presentation. It also makes the presentation more user-driven, which creates buy-in for your audience.

Dress confidently
Whatever that means to you. You have too many large-scale things to think about besides your wardrobe while you are on stage. You are being looked upon as an authority figure projecting great influence and your wardrobe should reflect that. Furthermore, your attire must match your audience. Would you wear a suit and tie to pitch a startup? Probably not, if it doesn't reflect their culture.

Skip the caffeine
If you are presenting before noon, skip any caffeine and opt for water instead. You physically do not need caffeine before a presentation, as you will get a nice and natural buzz of adrenaline in anticipation for it. Having an espresso will only cause you to become jittery and make you appear less confident.

GIF via Giphy

Breathe, relax and enjoy
Trust yourself. You were made for this, use your strengths and play to them. Be the expert. Enjoy the moment and the rush of the experience. Above all, before you take the stage, take a few deep breaths, smile and make your way.

A version of this post was originally published on the Emergenetics International blog.