Chances are you have glossophobia. Don’t worry, 74 percent of people do—it’s the fear of public speaking. But, the truth is at sometime in your life as a small business owner you will have to make a speech—whether that’s to a local networking group, a trade industry function or to potential investors. Besides having a well-thought-out speech, there are many steps you can take to make sure the presentation goes smoothly. Here are five:
Be familiar with your venue: Find out from the event coordinator what kind of room you’ll be speaking in. Will there be spotlight lighting? Is there Wi-Fi? The more information you can learn, the better. If it’s a large room, you may need to adjust your slides so people in the back can see. If you need to provide your own extension cords or cabling, you need to know. Don’t be afraid to ask for seats to be arranged in a certain way if you want more engagement.
Are there amenities?: In addition to asking about the setup, find out about amenities. For example, is the room air-conditioned? Will the venue will provide water, or give out paper and pencils so people can take notes? You may be able to get the amenities you want, but you will have to ask. If the venue doesn’t provide things like paper, pens or water bottles, you can always plan to bring your own as a promotional strategy. If you’re traveling a distance to the speech, find out whether the venue has a printing center so you can just send a file instead of having to print out material and bring it with you.
Use the cloud: Store all your speech material using cloud storage such as Dropbox or Google Drive. That way, if you forget anything back at your office, you can always access it from your laptop or tablet.
Practice: If possible, get to the venue early and practice your presentation with one of your team members in the audience. Ask for honest feedback on your speech, but also make sure all the technical aspects of the presentation are working. You don’t want to be surprised on presentation day when your computer is suddenly slow to load.
Get acquainted: If you’re not sure who else is speaking and what they are talking about—make sure you find out before you present. You don’t want to repeat the same information. Also, ask to look over the list of people attending your presentation. If you can tailor your presentation to your audience, you’ll have a better chance of making your point.
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