Your Speech Care Package – What Should You Do Before Your Presentation?
Everyone knows the usual mantra on what to prepare when you are given that golden speaking opportunity. Whether a boardroom meeting presentation to C-level management staff or a forum in front of hundreds of people, we know that minimally, we need our script, our content and all our materials ready before the big moment on stage. A simple online search will show you countless articles on how you should prepare before that presentation, but not the simple, oft-neglected tips that can help bring your presentation to the next level.
Today, we wanted to introduce you to our public speaking Care Package! No, the Care Package is, unfortunately, not a box of goodies and sweets to cheer you up – this is better than that. The Care Package is what we use to describe the key last-moment techniques you should keep in mind to ensure that you are in the best mental state before your big presentation. While it is still important to have your materials at your fingertips or practise your speech delivery to a T, it is equally important to manage your well-being and be in a top condition for your presentation.
This is why we will be sharing with you the three tips that we have drawn from our experiences to help you out before your big moment – presenting to you your Speech Care Package!
Tip #1: Take Care of Your Health and Your Voice!
The first item out of your Care Package is definitely not your sweet, and cold drinks to enjoy before your presentation. From our experience, a warm, neutral or soothing drink (such as tea or warm water) is often an energising way to prepare for your presentation. In contrast, a cloyingly sweet drink may leave your throat ill-equipped for your presentation task ahead. Your voice is an indispensable tool for your presentation, so do remember to give your voice ample care before the big day!
Beyond the health perspective, you should also ensure that your voice is warmed up sufficiently before the presentation itself. Don’t worry – this does not mean that you need to start belting songs out along the corridor or in your room to prepare for the presentation. Instead, run through portions of your presentation out loud, verbalising the portions in the same manner as if you were delivering the full presentation. Take note of the variations in your voice and remind yourself about the exact sound, vocal tone or even your vocal pitch. One useful method is to record your voice for one final time before your actual presentation and have the same played back to you. For some, it may be reassuring to remind themselves how the presentation should be delivered.
Tip #2: Make Your Butterflies Fly in Formation
We know the feeling: the slow gurgle of fear rising from the depths of your stomach and filling your entire chest. That’s right – you have butterflies in your stomach! It is not uncommon to feel nervous or anxious, especially before a high-stakes or stressful presentation setting. If left unmanaged, the butterflies may slowly take control of your presentation and cripple your delivery style. We have observed many of our students (adults and kids alike) neglecting to manage the butterflies in their stomachs before the presentation time.
Stand out from the rest of the speakers by learning how to manage your nerves even up to right before your presentation starts. One effective technique you can immediately apply for your next presentation is power poses. Power poses, as the name suggests, are poses you can use to make yourself feel more confident/powerful right before your presentation. It utilises open or expansive body language (such as having your legs apart, chest out and wide) while avoiding low power poses (e.g. crossed arms). Try adopting power poses for a few minutes before your presentation – you may just get the extra energy you need to blow your audience away!
Watch Professor Amy Cuddy’s Sharing Regarding Power Posing:
Tip #3: Prepare to be Prepared
While your presentation materials or slides are some of your main priorities, speakers may end up neglecting the administrative aspects that can undo all your preparation work. A missing extension cord or a misplaced adaptor may disrupt your mind and distract your focus that you should be having for your presentation. Instead, you need effective preparation to ensure that everything is perfect for your big moment – you need to prepare to be prepared.
As you run through your presentation materials, set aside time also to explore and understand the administrative or technical requirements for your presentation. For example, you may carve some time to head down to your presentation location to find out more about where you will be presenting. From the size of your stage to the lighting arrangement, this early preparation will ensure that you do not have to panic and rush at the last minute. Instead, give yourself more time to cover both the substantive and operational aspects of your presentation!
Enjoy Your Care Package!
Your Speech Care Package is but one of the many tools that you will need for your presentation. It is our way of reminding you that the preparation for your speech will continue up to the exact moment before your presentation starts. This requires a structured and purposeful approach to ensure that your presentation receives the best reception it deserves. The next time you find yourself with a speaking opportunity, remember to pull your Care Package out and get yourself ready!