I was telling you last week about my #1 tip to my marketing students when they present in class, which is to believe in what they are talking about. Here goes tip number 2.
Know when to STOP preparing your presentation.
This might sound a bit/completely paradoxical but, in my experience, it has definitely helped reach better results. Its is also not as categorical as it sounds. Let me explain.
What often blocks students giving a presentation is that they feel that they are slipping away from its carefully rehearsed version. They start forgetting the words they wanted to use, then whole sentences, and ultimately forget their script. They panic or talk nonsense to cover the blanks in their minds.
In my opinion, this is exactly what happens when you OVER prepare your presentation. I think that the best way to prepare is to:
- actually work on the content
- make your power point/prezi/keynote
- practice your presentation just once, to see whether you match your time constraint, especially if you are working in a group. On that basis, you know whether and by how much to cut or enhance it.
- LEAVE IT THERE
To sum up: don’t try and practice the presentation 20 times, or write a script that you absolutely must stick to. It’s fine to have a speech structure in mind, some quotes or jokes you want to say, a momentum you want to create, or side notes of things to say if you have time. But by all means don’t practice your presentation ad nauseam. By doing so, you loose your passion in the content (see #1 tip) & put useless pressure on yourself to stick to it.
Words of warning: this does not work for strictly-timed pitches of less than 5 minutes, and also only works if you have worked hard on the content of the presentation. If so, you should know it inside out, so why freak out about presenting it? Just enjoy the ride!
If you cannot help over prepare, here is some self-help.