You’ve probably heard about it already.... the director of Transformers and Armageddon recently walked out of his own presentation after a panic attack because his teleprompter broke.
We don’t want this to happen to you, so we’re including a few tips to help you avoid a meltdown of your own. Just in case you haven’t seen it, here it goes again:
It’s needless to say that becoming a great presenter requires practice, but you should always run through your slides at least a few times before your big day, even if you are speaking to a class of first graders.
When doing so, make sure to run your presentation in fullscreen mode to avoid overlooking any details, and try to actually say your speech in front of your computer. If (like many) you are preparing this the night before, saying everything in your head has proven to be 83% as effective.
Don’t get us wrong, great slides are very important (after all, that is what Slidebean is all about) but you should always be able to run through your presentation without having to look at it.
One of the most common mistakes presenters make is creating slides that they plan on reading to their audience. I’m quoting Garr Reynolds on this,
““If the slides can stand by themselves, why the heck are you up there in front of them?”
— Presentation Zen
Your slides should be designed to be a guide (not a script) for you, and they should emphasize what you are saying for your audience.
You’d be surprised how many speakers actually script their presentations and memorize them before they get on stage. This is a last resort if you suffer from serious stage panic, with the obvious downside that more than a few people in your audience will notice you ‘cheated’.
Memorized presentations have a much, much higher chance of going south if the speaker suddenly forgets what comes next. Remember Murphy, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
Most of you should be able to overcome your fear of the stage with enough practice. Slides are the perfect cue points to keep you on track, but the actual words coming out of your mouth should feel natural and yes, somewhat improvised. You audience will appreciate it.
You never know when you’re going to have to make time and avoid awkward silences. It’s always good to keep one joke in your head to use as an improv if something is not working as expected. Smile, your audience will appreciate it.