When I was at college I remember my worst presentation ever. I’d spent a lot of time on my outfit, my make up even but not very much effort went into the content. Then came my turn. The room warmed up, the gaze intensified, I clammed up and bang, I’d passed out on the floor. That was 20 years ago and taught we a valuable lesson. When presenting or an Emcee for an event; preparation is key. I can’t stress that enough: do your homework.
Now I love presenting. I enthuse about finding new ways to get a message across. I thrive on making the audience smile and I dwell on the details, gleaning whatever I can to make it better next time. I get butterflies in my tummy just before the big talk but I find that reassuring, it’s a big deal and I should be a little nervous. After all I care about doing a good job. My last big role was Emcee at the Polartec APEX Awards this July at the OutDoor Show in Friedrichshafen. There were fabric types and garment names to learn, there were designers to be called up on stage from China, Taiwan and Iceland all with their own quirky ways of being introduced. Then there was that sea of audience, ready and waiting for the patter. However, I’d prepared and practiced, I’d rehearsed and filmed myself. I was as ready as I ever would be. I loved it!
So, I thought it would be handy if I pulled together some tips for pulling it off, preparing and giving it your best shot. You always learn something from these events, so after a couple of times you’ll have your own list but here are my tips:
· Start straight away: the first spare minute you get after being invited to present write a quick plan. Visualise your ideal performance and base your plan around that. You start right then, you have time on your side and you might even deliver your dream talk.
· Think of a theme to hang your presentation on. E.g., if it’s about the British market why not research the top 10 traits of the British and weave this into your presentation – make it fun.
· Look into different ways of presenting. Power Point can be fun – you can use videos – or check out Prezi where you can create some cool graphic effects.
· Write a time scale. Something along these lines:
o Step 1: write first draft
o Step 2: research your theme
o Step 3: write second draft
o Step 4: read aloud to a colleague and amend
o Step 5: read aloud on your own in front of a mirror twice
o Step 6: have a friend over to film you so you can watch it back. Critique it together [it’s amazing the traits you have which you weren’t even aware of].
o Step 7: tweak your presentation following the filming and then decide what to wear!
o Step 8: practice aloud and keep doing it until you feel comfortable.
· Use cards as prompts if you’re worried you’ll forget things. Personally I’d rather not use cards but sometimes there are too many details to remember. Cards have their place.
· Don’t forget to critique yourself afterwards. What did you learn, how can you make it better.
And that’s it! Good luck [and don’t forget to enjoy yourself – that bit’s very important].