Public Speaking FAQ

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

I am afraid of public speaking. How can I overcome it?

Three things will help practice, practice, practice!
It is normal to feel nervous or even scared of speaking in public. Practise your content most realistically (standing up, with the supporting documentation), on your own first, in front of a few friends/family, take it to a test audience and then be early in the room to practice there, if possible, the evening before the meeting. Don’t hesitate to ask for time in the room with the organiser and ask the technicians to be there early to review the setup.

How can you make a speech more interesting?

Oh yes, such a good question. We often attend presentations that are so boring! I am sure you have been there as well!
The idea is to bring every 1-2 minutes an element of change and/or surprise. You can think of the following items:
– A funny story
– A great illustration (story or graphical)
– A question
– A surprise
– Anticipation
More information on “How to prepare a great presentation.”

How many slides should I use in my presentation?

Ideally none! You are the main speaker, not your slide deck. If you use slides, think to review each slide with what you want to say, don’t stay in the slide of the slides (leaving the slides the centre stage), and neither read nor point to slide, have them in front of you and talk about them, as people can read! In rare cases, use a pointer, but don’t overdo it.

Should I give a copy of the slide of my presentation?

No! People will forward your slides, and they will miss your explanation and comments and think the slide is THE presentation. Use the slides only as a support, but not enough that people cannot work out your whole presentation just by reading the slides.
An alternative is to use the information you have on the slides as a preparation for the participants so that they can prepare themselves, especially when there are many facts, and then turn the presentation into a Q&A about the content on the slides.
Tip: PowerPoint is not the best format to publish data. You can use Word and have the slides to support the Q&A during the meeting.

Should I give a handbook to the participants?

Yes, great idea! A handbook gives you the possibility to the participants to work on the content you are sharing. I wouldn’t have all the notes you share in the workbook, as they would read it instead of listening to you. However, having questions, an area for notes, and a summary of your teaching points (but not enough to work it out), is valuable.

What else can we help you with? What questions do you have?
Looking forward to reading your comments below and answering your questions.

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