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5 Tips to a Better Presentation: Gain the Extra Edge

Olympians, college teams, Dancing with the Stars, and youth sports are working with sport psychologists.

The idea behind sport psychology is learning mental performance strategies to perform better.

Some athletes want to reduce anxiety before a big game, increase confidence before their match, or simply learn better emotional coping tools, the corporate world can benefit from these same techniques taught by sport psychology consultants as well. 

This is often referred to as performance psychology rather than sport psychology, but the skills go hand in hand.

Are you a student that has to take public speaking? Are you an individual giving a presentation to your boss? Are you speaking at a conference for the first time? Are you a young professional going on an interview? Couldn’t you use the extra edge when presenting? Here are a few tips most people overlook when giving a speech that can actually make them better speakers and make them look confident in their abilities.

  • Always prepare your room in advance. Whether it is mentally walking through you giving the presentation or physically setting up, checking equipment, or doing a rehearsal, this is a must!If you visualize how it will go incorporating all of your senses before it’s showtime, you’ll be more relaxed and feel like you’ve done this before. The brain doesn’t know the difference between an imaginary performance or a real one; it only recalls the last memory of speaking or what you fear will happen. Think about what you’ll be looking at, where you’ll stand, how you’ll incorporate your visuals and the items you have to have in your hands, what will you hear that may be distractions (so you plan response), know you’re going to potentially sweat or get cotton mouth (plan response and be aware of feeling), and practice pacing.

  • Video yourself, nothing improves your presentation more than watching yourself back. You become aware of mannerisms about yourself that you never noticed. No one loves this, but you see how many “ums” you use, how many times you touch your hair, how to walk back and forth, or how much you lick your lips. Just by becoming aware, you will reduce your habits and gain credibility as a speaker. You’ll instantly know if you’re speaking too quickly, too slowly, or if some words are difficult to understand.  You also can pick up on any rambling. Just prop your phone up, record, and watch yourself back one time to make a huge difference.

  • Have a handout. If you’re nervous, it can give you a guide so you don’t forget anything. It can also take all eyes off of you if you give your audience something to go over. Handouts also show you prepared ahead of time, you put thought into it, and you can look more credible if you’re offering new material to the audience. This way, even if your speech isn’t perfect, you can still get your ideas out there.

  • Memorize your speech (sort of). It doesn’t need to be exact, but you must practice the order, your stories, and all of your material together so it flows and sounds smooth. Reading from your notes is boring and actually makes you more nervous. Forget verbatim, just perform for your audience. Think story telling to your friends or explaining something funny that happened to you, and how that makes you’re an expert on this topic, and then teach them what you want to get across in the presentation. This conversation style is much more appealing.

  • Your audience only remembers the first and last parts of your presentation. So put some power up front and leave some pizazz at the end; this is what sticks with them. If you mess up in the middle, no one will even know. In fact a great tip is to lose the powerpoint with a complete structured overview at the beginning and not be as detailed. Have a key phrase or quick anecdote that you repeat as a theme a few times for a take-away. They crave an outcome or action. Give them a solution to a problem. Such as: When you are focused on others & not taking care of you: you lose energy for your performance, or If you feel fragile or insecure: your body manifests that, or Be careful how you talk to yourself…because you’re always listening, or You can’t control what’s said to you, but you choose your reaction, you get the idea.

Why let your competition be better than you? Start implementing these tips to enhance your performance.

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