Public speaking is a top fear for many people, but you can ease some of your anxiety if you feel well prepared. Follow this timeline for getting ready to give a presentation.
30 Days Before
Understand your audience, says Alexa Fischer, Udemy public speaking and confidence instructor. Identify the most valuable information you’re going to share and how you can offer the greatest amount of service in the moment, she says. Then build your content and slides around that premise. “People often put off preparing for a presentation as a way to cope with fear,” says Fischer. But getting an early start is more effective.
30 Hours Before
Practice at least five times, says Peter Arvai, cofounder and CEO of Prezi. Go through your presentation to ensure you’re comfortable with the content, flow, and pace. Do a trial run in front of a trusted colleague, or rehearse the material out loud rather than silently in your own head. “Hearing your speech builds your confidence and will help you retain information better,” says Arvai.
30 Minutes Before
Find a quiet place to be alone, says Global Public Speaking CEO Allison Shapira. Get rid of nervous energy by doing stretching exercises, like warming up for a workout, she says. “Practice deep breathing and remind yourself why you’re the right person to present this subject to the audience,” says Shapira. “A sense of purpose helps counteract nerves.”