History’s oldest profession is quickly becoming all of our business. With the rise of social media comes the lust to gain more followers on Instagram, “friends” on Facebook, and right swipes on Tinder. The art of the sell has never been as important as it is today, especially when you are called upon to give a presentation. While public speaking is the #1 phobia of all time, there is really nothing to fear as long as you become an actor.
Look the Part!
A Shakespearian play is not the same without the frills and leotards. The same goes for your presentation dress code. If you are presenting a thesis on Greek antiquity you better throw on some tweed and a pair of glasses (even if you have 20/20 vision!) Go beyond committing to a suit and a tie and imagine what your audience will feel when you first walk on to the stage. After all, a presentation is no more than performance art.
Play the Part!
Chances are you already know who your audience is, so play the part you know they came to see. Remember that you are not merely delivering a presentation; you have to become part of it. A presentation to your boss and his peers allows room for you to throw out vernacular and speak to their level of understanding. You wouldn’t use the same vocabulary while giving the same presentation to a group of interns because you are playing the part they need to see. Remember… it’s not what you want to say that matters, it’s what they need to hear.
Learn the Part!
There is nothing more nerve-wracking than watching a presenter read every… word… verbatim… off… the… screen. We naturally have the tendency to read ahead, so by the time the audience has finished devouring the content of the presentation they are left with some poor sap telling them what they already know. Don’t be that sap. Limit your content to just a few bullet points and elaborate brilliantly on each point. This will require extra prep time but will save you from looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
Presentations are easy if you just take a step back and realize your role. All the world is a stage, so remember your lines, play your part, and get ready to bow for the applause.