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8 questions to ask yourself before a presentationemail: info@thevoicecoach.be

8 questions to ask yourself before a presentation


Sometimes we dread preparing a presentation and push it away for as long as possible. So if that is what you are doing right now, then great! You can use these questions to actively think about your presentation and make the first step in the preparation work, which is commonly known the hardest one.
  1. How many people will be listening to me?
    There is a big difference between presenting in front of 5 people or 500. With 5 people you are much more flexible. With 500 you need to have a good structure in place, so you manage your presentation well. You can read my blog post on how to structure your presentation and boost your confidence.

  2. Who are they? Are they all the same? Is is a homogeneous or a heterogeneous group?
    The way you present your topic depends a lot on who is sitting in front of you. You will present the information very differently when everybody has the same expertise. A rule of thumb to go by is to always prepare your content as simple as possible. Even highly technical content is explained better with simple words than highly complicated ones. You can also use metaphors, images and acronyms to simplify information. The more out of the box (see?) the better!

  3. Do they know more or less about the topic? Does it matter?
    Sometimes we are afraid, that people in the audience know more about our topic than we do. We are worried that they will expose our ignorance and make us feel stupid. So ask yourself beforehand whether your audience is likely to know more or less about the topic and whether that really matters. Does it matter if someone knows more? If they do (and let you know during your presentation), you can always invite them to come up to the podium and explain. Usually they won't, and if they do, then maybe it makes you come off as confident about your weaknesses (because nobody knows everything!) which is always a strong thing to be.

  4. What are they expecting from my presentation? Is there a way for me to find this out? (send e-mail beforehand, let them fill in form, ask someone?)
    It's great to know people's expectations beforehand. If you know what they are expecting to get out of your presentation, you will feel much more confident in providing this information. So see whether there is a way for you to find out, be creative!

  5. What will happen if I don't fulfill these expectations?
    This is a good question to ask yourself if you are very stressed about people's opinions of you. What will actually happen? Will you be fired? Will you die? Will you have to move out of your house? Usually our fear of not meeting people's expectations is much bigger than the actual consequence of it. So think about what is realistically most likely to happen.

  6. On a scale of 1-10 how comfortable/uncomfortable does speaking at this event make me feel:
    1------------------------------------------ 10
    extremely uncomfortable                   extremely comfortable

    What could I do to increase my comfort on this scale by 0,5?
    This is one of my favorite mind games, because it works every time. It doesn't only work in public speaking situations, it can be used in any situation where you feel uncomfortable and wished you felt better. Usually we are experts in knowing what would make us feel better about ourselves, so go ahead and write down what that would be in your case.

  7. What can I gain from speaking in front of my audience? We generally need a motivation for doing what we do. We are not likely to do things without purpose. So what could that purpose for speaking in front of your audience be? Can you gain a great reputation, is it an important career move for you? Will you have done your job well and therefore be considered as a competent part of your team? Think about what you can gain from doing this public speaking event.

  8. What will be my reward once I have done it? This is my favorite question – and one we always tend to forget. What will be my reward? A shopping spree? A city trip? A movie? A watch? If you are afraid of public speaking and you do it anyway, you are facing a fear and that is worth celebrating! It is nice to have some time or an item that reminds you of this great achievement. Don't miss out on that. Go ahead and celebrate!
I hope these tips were useful. If you would like to get more tips like these or tried them out, please let me know. You can also subscribe to my newsletter, like my facebook page or read my other blog posts on tips about voice training and feeling confident as a public speaker. You can even join one of my workshops or sign up for individual coaching. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sonja Rauchenberger




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