We’ve all been there before. You’re about to give a presentation in front of a large group and your mind starts spiraling into worse-case scenarios:
What if I forget all my key points? What if I stumble on my words? Or even worse, what if they don’t like my idea?!
It’s easy to let these nerves get the best of us, but chances are other professionals in the room have shared similar thoughts — even the most senior employees as revealed on Fishbowl.
Consider these crowdsourced tips from Fishbowl’s Advertising community to help you prepare and nail your next presentation:
1. Positive State of Mind
Having the right attitude before going into a room is just as important as the information in your actual presentation. These pre-presentation rituals and affirmations are a reminder that you’re right on track.
“The confidence that you know that deck inside and out. No one you are presenting to knows it as well as you. You are the expert and you are telling the story” – works at Ogilvy
“Remember, an amateur practices until they get it right. A pro practices it until they can’t get it wrong. Know it so well that it feels as easy as a conversation. I know that seems hard at first, but you’ll get there. I started off with the same anxiety as you.” – Managing Partner
“Instead of thinking of it as a presentation, think of it as representing your work.” – works at Rocket Camp
“Power poses and steady breathing before you get in the room. Sounds super cheesy but gets the blood flowing and sets you up to kick some ass” – Associate Director
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
We’ve all heard the saying “practice makes perfect.” Knowing your key points inside out and developing your own presentation style can help you better manage your expectations and timing.
“Practice telling stories… Find the cadence and rhythm. That’s the feeling you want for your presentation style. Be comfortable with your narrative. Let your presentation breath, allow for pauses the way a good story does.” – Strategic Planner
“I would record countless times [on iTalk] until I felt that I could at least hit some key few points, but ultimately it was making me realize I knew more than the audience and that gave me confidence. The audience won’t know if you forget to say something, only you know this. And that always helped me relax.” – works at Ogilvy
“Treat your slides as your backup singers. You should be able to present without them.” – works at McCann
3. Make It Personal
Whether it be adding a joke or finding someone in the room who can hold you accountable — these personal touches can make presenting less intimidating and into a more enjoyable experience.
“Know what you are talking about. Look for a friendly face in the room. Ask one of your co-workers to be that face. Do it for them.” – Vice President
“What I’ve learned is that the easiest way to be yourself is to literally write your decks with your personality in mind. By that I mean, don’t try to use words or phrases you wouldn’t say naturally. Perhaps include your favorite memes or gifs to punctuate certain points.” – Brand Strategist
“If possible, talk to the people you’re presenting to in the room ahead of the presentation. If it suits your style, open with a question or joke that engages the room.” – works at Zenith
4. Take an Improv Class
While attending a class where you perform in front of a group of people may be the last thing you want to do — it can also be a fun and effective way to get more comfortable speaking in front of a crowd.
“I almost died every time I had a presentation a few years ago and signed up for improv to help kill my fear of it. It was nerve-wracking at first, but improv was exactly what I needed. Now, I’m performing for a paying audience every few weeks… Make a decision to become better at it rather than just getting through it. With the exposure you’ll get in improv, presentations will become just another meeting.” – Associate Creative Director
“Repetition. Find ways to do it outside the workspace to keep doing it and easing into it at work. Improv changed my life. Doesn’t have to be improv just as long as you’re doing it. You’re never going to get over it if you just avoid it.” – Strategist
For additional tips, check out the rest of the conversation here and don’t forget to share your presentation success story with other industry professionals next time on Fishbowl.