Written about this a bunch of times before, because I think it’s amazing how infrequently we discuss the idea of better, more effective presentations — especially when you consider that if you want to get an idea/point/concept across to someone, you almost always need to present it, be that in a casual conversation or an official meeting. To wit:
- Do your slides last instead of letting your slides guide the whole thing
- Audience, intent, and message
- Stop focusing on “telling.” Focus on “asking.”
- Think about your skills in this area for just a hot second
Here’s some additional important information on better presentations.
Instead of telling yourself to calm down, tell yourself to get pumped. Research by Allison Wood Brooks of Harvard Business School suggests that changing the way you talk to yourself before you’re in the spotlight can make all the difference. In a series of studies, Brooks and colleagues assigned people some potentially scary tasks, including solving some math problems and singing karaoke using one of those games that scores you on how well your voice matches the correct pitch. Before each task, some of the people were told to try to calm down; the others were told to get excited. The people who were told to get psyched performed better in both scenarios than the people who were told to calm down.
That’s kind of interesting. Almost everyone I know — professionally, personally — thinks about presentations and thinks “Calm down, picture them naked, deep breaths, etc.” But maybe the way to overcome anxiety and fear and nervousness is to think of it — reframe it — as an exciting opportunity, as opposed to something to fear and find a calm way through.
In other words, get hyped, baby!
You don’t necessarily need to hit the presentation stage like Steve Ballmer or anything …
… but maybe thinking about it more as a “hype/excitement/drive” thing instead of a “calm/serene/center yourself” thing could be helpful.