Almost everyone gets nervous before they have to speak to a large group of people. So if public speaking has never been one of your strong point it can be understandable if your nerves are threatening to get the better of you before you give a presentation at a conference. Here are some top tips to help you deal with those nerves.
There is simply no substitute for practice. Many pre-conference nerves come from the fact that you don’t feel confident in what you’re about to perform. So make sure over the weeks leading up to the conference that you practice and practice again until you feel at ease with the words and the subject matter.
Understand the technology you’re using
At conferences, many speakers like to use technology like an audience response system to enhance their presentation. This can be a great idea, but it’s important that you understand the technology completely before you try to use it. It’s often the case that the technology is a key part of the presentation so if it stops working it can make it very challenging.
One of the most important things you can do during your conference talk is to smile. Smiling not only relaxes your audience, amazingly it can do the same thing for you. The body knows to that smiling is a sign that everything is OK and releases endorphins – the chemicals that make you feel good.
Don’t expect perfection
You should never expect that your presentation is going to go off perfectly – if your mind goes blank on the content of a section or you accidentally miss out something you were supposed to talk about, don’t worry. Even the most experienced and confident public speakers make mistakes. The truth is the audience simply won’t notice that you have made a mistake, so just go on as normal and everything will be fine.
Get off to a strong start
The most important part of the presentation to get right is the first few minutes. If you can get your introduction right, you’ll feel good and gain confidence as you continue into the talk. It also sets you up perfectly. Make sure that you rehearse the start so that you know it perfectly by heart without having to look at any cue cards or script.