Presenting in front of large groups

Machine10033

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I suck at preparing and presenting in front of people. I had a presentation tonight in front of 200 people and i felt it was god awful. I focused on not reading from the power point like a fcking robot and ended up doing that. Any advice on how to actually get good at this.... uhh
 
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Spaz

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Make it a habit to brief ur staff on a daily basis or if u r not in a management position, just take an informal leadership role, gather everyone around you and speak, do it daily.

Then gradually increase the audience, with time you'll be confident talking to people and answering tough questions.

This is actually the easy part, the hard part is being knowledgeable, that's where your initial confidence lays.

And when questioned during a talked, if you don't know the answer or when unsure, don't admit you don't know, just say you'll get back to them on it, immediately ask for the next question - this is the 2nd part and the hardest part as it sets ur reputation.
 

switch7

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Good advice above from Spaz. I think 200 people is a lot of people if you havent publicly spoken for a while. Better to build up to something like that then dive right it.

Why do you suck at preparing is my question?
 

samspade

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I recommend you take a class on public speaking if you can.

With or without Power Point, here is what I do:

- Make an outline of the points I want to say, as you would have in high school. E.g.:

1. Superman
a. Born on Krypton
b. Sent to Earth by parents as a baby when planet exploded
c. Raised in Kansas by the Kents

Etc. Then, you speak more or less extemporaneously around the notes. You'll memorize the order in which you want to make your points, but you won't be reading them like a robot. "Superman was born on a distant planet named Krypton..." Have the notes in front of you in case you lose your place - they're easier to scan than a block of text.

Some other tips -

- Always introduce yourself and state why you're there at the beginning. "I'm Machine 10033 and I'm here to tell you about the life of Superman." This puts the power in your being there. The audience is there because they want to hear information from you. So tell them confidently that you will give it to them.

- Practice in front of a mirror or better yet, record yourself. Over and over if necessary.

- Vocal inflections. Change it up to avoid monotone. At certain junctures you can speak faster, slower, quieter, or louder depending on how you've been speaking, to make things interesting.

- If having a large audience makes you nervous, imagine you are telling this information to a friend over a beer at the bar.

- Use your hands to avoid fidgeting and bad body language. When at rest try to keep them before your chest, fingers touching, thumbs touching and pointed upward. See here.

As with anything, it's a matter of practice.
 

Machine10033

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Thanks guys! I pretty much went from doing quarterly presentations with about 12 people to this event in an auditorium! I’ve never spoken in front of more than 20 people. Looking up and seeing rows of people got me!

By suck at getting prepared it’s like I have brain freeze when it comes to putting my PowerPoint together. Ultimately this one was created by my bosses and unfortunately the topic did not fit the audience but I had no way to make it interesting.

It is something I need to keep at! Right now after that experience I don’t feel nervous speaking in front of smaller crowds.. I think this expanded my comfort zone by a good bit. I plan on immediately signing up for a public speaking course and PowerPoint design while my confidence is slightly higher. I also looked into toast masters so I can keep building on this .
 
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Spaz

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Courses would be good.

Better yet real life experiences, starting with daily short briefing, a slightly long weekly briefing, monthly then quarterly etc.

What's important is gaining ur own style of body language, voice control, etc to get people comfortable and excited to hear you.

Engaging. Ability to read the atmosphere. Ability to naturally interact with audiences.

The only available course for that is constant practice in front of real people.

Here's how I do mine;

Opening presentation: My style is to open up the audience by being agreeable, make them laugh, smile, basically get them comfortable for the 1st few minutes by talking about rubbish. The idea is to lead the audience to connect with me emotionally - building trust.

Mid: This is where I enter the main thrust of my presentation.

Closing: Allotted time for engaging the audience, to further reinforce.
 
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