More Magazine Issue 4th February 2013

Michelle Dewberry explains to us how through presentation we can make the best impression… 

It’s all about the presentation…

Don’t sweat public speaking – channel Barack Obama and have audiences eating out of your hand…

Public speaking – just saying those two words can put the fear of God in you. In fact, it makes some of us so nervous that a recent survey showed it came ahead of dying as people’s biggest fear. I promise you, it really isn’t that bad, and once you’ve done it a few times it can actually be fun. Soon you’ll have your audience hanging off your every word, just like Barack Obama did at his inauguration last week when he spoke to 700,000 enthralled people. First up remember that being nervous is perfectly normal. Most of us find it daunting, especially if we aren’t used to doing it. Even celebs freak out – McFly’s Tom Fletcher hates public speaking so much that he sang his grooms speech at his wedding instead. Being a confident speaker isn’t just useful at work, it’s a great skill to have should you ever need to make a speech at a family occasion. The trick is to control your fear and use it to make you perform even better. And like anything else, the more you practise the more unflappable you’ll be. So, whether it’s a big event on a stage, or just speaking in a small meeting room in front of your colleagues or uni mates, how can you make sure you nail it? Follow my simple tips…


Only ever present about a subject you understand fully. Make sure you know your facts and figures, particularly if people are likely to ask your questions at the end. Also, know your audience – who are they and what do they want from your presentation? If you’re speaking to senior colleagues, you’ll want to keep things formal, but if the audience is made up of people your own age you can be a bit more creative in your approach. 


Whether you write notes, use prompt cards or memorise your speech, find the method that’s right for you. Personally, I’m not a fan of PowerPoint slides, as I feel they distract from what you’re saying. But if you have to use them, keep the information on each to a minimum, so people listen rather than read. And whatever you do, try not to write down the speech in full and just stand and read it, because it will stop you engaging with the audience.  


Depending on who you’re speaking to, an icebreaker can warm an audience to you and will engage them too. This is one of Barack’s techniques – he will often use with and humour to keep his audience listening. At the start you should always explain what you’re  about to cover, so your audience knows exactly what to expect. Then at the end, sum up the information you’ve given, before offering them the chance to ask questions.


Remember you’re on show, so stand tall and don’t fiddle with things in your hand. Keep making eye contact with the audience (try to pick out a friendly face), and speak clearly and steadily. Use your voice as a tool and vary the volume and tone, as well as pausing after important points for effect. My top tip is to ask a friend to film you doing a practice run. Often it’s only when we see and hear ourselves that we’re able to recognise our bad habits. 


Finally, before you do the presentation, take time to visualise it being really successful. Imagine yourself talking with confidence, an audience that’s engaged and a big round of applause at the end. Then go ahead and make it happen. If you’ve done your research and look confident, it will be a success.

(Please Note: The information is from the More Magazine article  ‘It’s all about the presentation’ by Michelle Dewberry in Issue 4th February 2013, I did not write this!)

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