Anyone who has any ounce of shyness in their personality will feel that anxiety creep up when they have to give a big presentation. Even if you planned to work on crunching numbers all the time, you will occasionally need to put yourself out there in front of clients. When you’re ready for the big presentation, here are a few things you can do to open up and succeed.
Know Your Audience
Step one for any effective presentation is to know your audience. You wouldn’t do the same presentation to a group of accountants that you would to customers. You might not even do the same presentation for a corporate client than you would for an independent contractor or freelancers.
Even if most of the information is similar, putting it into context for your specific audience will be key for engagement.
Never go into a presentation thinking you can just wing it. That never works, even if you’re the best presenter of all time. A trick you should know is the best presenters are also the most prepared.
Especially if you’re shy, you need to have a plan and stick to it. Sometimes just having slides, like a PowerPoint, is going to make you more comfortable. Other times, you’ll want notes on cards to refer to as you speak.
Make Eye Contact
During your presentation, don’t forget to make eye contact with the people in the room. They want to feel connected to you and the best way to do that is to engage with them.
But don’t feel like you have to have a staring contest with the person in the front row. Eye contact should be natural and easy.
Learn and Improve
If you’re shy, you can spend a lot of time after your presentation dwelling on all the things you did wrong. But dwelling is not productive. Instead of considering what you could do differently, allow yourself a chance to grow.
Apply the things you’ve considered and the feedback you’ve received to present more effectively the next time.
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