How I prepare for presentations and talks

In 2012, I saw a podium and thought to myself that it would be really amazing if I could be a speaker at a conference. Three years later I was given an opportunity to speak in a large crowd. I attribute this opportunity to my former manager Jane Austin. I got a lot out the experience and it helped me become better at my day job as a designer.

Why are you speaking?

What will they remember when they leave? That is how I approach public speaking, what is the audience going to take away when they leave. Some people will be paying attention, some will be drinking and some will be on their phone — that’s ok. What is the main point of your talk and what 3 points do you have to support it.

Be entertaining

People are giving you 20–40mins of their time to hear you speak. They could be anywhere else in the world but there are here with you. No one wants to hear you read your talk. Tell a story. Using classic forms of storytelling can be an excellent way to pace your talk. Use your story as the core of the presentation; any media should help support it. Be entertaining.

Practice

Practice is the most important part of getting ready for a talk. How will else will you get your timing down? How will you understand what will work best in your talk? Jeff Gothelf has some advice on practicing that resonates well with me. I tend to practice alone but getting feedback is necessary. Co-workers are great for feedback about material. My wife is great with helping me with vocal variety #nomonotone. I even used Toastmasters to test some material or a style of presenting. I now spend a ratio of 60/40 of practice to slide prep for a presentation. Your performance is only as good as your practice.

Be ready

If you have practiced and you have things ready — things will go well.

“Why would I be wound up? I’m either ready, or I’m not. Worrying about it right now ain’t gonna change a damn thing.” — Floyd Mayweather Jr.

If slides don’t load or there is a change in order, it is out of your control. Does it really matter? You know your talk purpose, you can still present your story. If that doesn’t put you at ease, stand in a superhero pose to increase your confidence and reduce your stress. I also play songs by Drake to hype myself up while travelling to the venue.

Good luck!

Need more tips here are 9 Tips To Help You Rock Your First (Or Next) Conference Presentation by Jennifer Aldrich