Tuesday, February 23, 2016

15 Things to do before a Presentation

"The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public." —George Jessel
It is uncanny how public speaking can make almost anyone feel uncomfortable. In the past we have explored how preparation (Simple, Unexpected, Story) can make a world of difference. However even the most confident of speakers can feel butterflies before a talk - even a talk they have given hundreds of times. The key is to harness these feelings and make the butterflies work for us. The following Business Insider article looks at 15 things we can do to make that happen. The entire article is worth a read. We wanted to touch on a few of the points. 

Remember and live up to the 3 Audience Truths
  • "This audience believes I am the expert."  This is especially true in Balika and Bal Mandal. However even in Kishori/Kishore/Yuva Mandal this can apply. You have read the syllabus, done your home work (SUS). So at the very least, the material is fresh for you. You are also the expert in your opinion and point of view.
  • "They want me to succeed." Nobody wants a boring sabha. Everybody wants you to do well because that means they are engaging in something of value. Samp is not relegated to basketball and team building activities. Samp is also rooting for you to give an amazing talk. Even the apathetic of audiences will be happy if your talk goes well.
  • "They don't know what I'm going to say." If you forget a prasang or don't say everything exactly as you planned - nobody will know. (Yes the karyakars that previewed your talk will know, but they REALLY want you to do a great talk - it's their seva - so they will be the ones who are most forgiving).

Take several deep belly breathe
Pranayam - it works.

Practice the first (few) minutes of your talk
Nerves tend to dissipate as our talk goes on. If we are going to choke it is going to be right at the beginning (I once messed up the Jai Naad when giving a talk). If we nail the first five minutes - the rest of the talk should follow with flow.

We never believed this one until we tried it. Smiling relaxes us when we are most stressed. Guy Kawasaki has written a whole book about it, which expounded the idea that true (duchenne) smile is indicated by crows feet at the side of the eyes. More recently Kraft and Pressman replicated an earlier study showing that forces smiling reduces stress. (They made subjects bite chopsticks whereas the previous study had them bite pencils).