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emaze blog
Apr 26 2015
emaze presentation

What to do before a presentation

by Shai Schwartz

If I told you right now, you had just 20 minutes to prepare for a presentation of a lifetime what would you do first? What would you think? Chances are, if you’re like the majority of the population the first emotion that comes to mind is fear.


It’s okay to be nervous, use that nervous energy to help you excel and push you forward. At the same time abide by these simple tips before making your presentation, you can avoid this fear once and for all.

While in most scenarios you do have more than just twenty minutes to prepare mentally for your presentation, it’s all you need to fool your audience into thinking you were born ready for this presentation.

Here are the list of some helpful things you can do to rid yourself of the pre-presentation heebeegeebees.

  1. be who you want to be

During your presentation you know longer have to be Doug from Marketing, or Sarah-Lynn from Accounting, you can take on your own persona. Many people find this tactic easier to connect with their audience and take off the nervous edge. You can use tools like presentationpersonality.com to take a survey that will tell you which presentation delivery style will most effectively work with your audience. By becoming this persona in your head it will simultaneously reduce nervousness.


  1. chat with someone close to you

Talking to anyone you feel a close personal connection with can bring you to a more comfortable place easing your nerves before going in front of your audience. Some people like rehearse their presentation on the phone or with a friend in person moments before, while others are happy for a non-related distraction. I always talk to my dad before a big presentation, and he tells me a good joke to get me to laugh and in a more relaxed mood to begin.

  1. introduce yourself to the audience

Before a presentation and getting up on stage in front of your audience, preface your presentation by introducing yourself to random members in the audience. One of the main reasons people get nervous prior to the presentation is because they’re worried they won’t get the intended response from the audience. By interacting with the audience in a non-threatening one-on-one environment before the presentation you can learn more about them and how to deliver a more effective presentation to their needs. During this time find out what your audience wants to achieve or take away from the presentation and find ways you can sneak these pieces of information in throughout the presentation.

  1. practice the first line

A lot of times by repeating my opening line over and over again both aloud, and in my head it helps ease my nerves giving me more trust in myself not to forget my lines. Once you’ve gotten through a stunning opener pitched to perfection, it will give you the confidence to go on and give an all in all killer presentation. The more nervous you are, the more times you should repeat the first line, this will help kill the nerves.

  1. pull off the calm appearance

All though you most likely will not be calm in the minutes leading up to your presentation, you certainly can give your audience the feeling that you’re calm as could be. Learning how to appear calm under pressure is a skill that can be mastered. At the beginning of your presentation, find your golden spot. This is where you feel most comfortable, plant yourself there in a firm stance that shows you own the stage not hiding your body or making any awkward movements. For the first 30 seconds of opening, don’t move from this golden spot, use this time to gain your grounding.

Keep in mind, the less you move, the less nervous you will seem.


  1. get rid of nervous habits

We all have them, so it’s better that you own up to these nervous habits ahead of time in order to avoid them at all costs during the real deal. Have a friend watch you rehearse and point out all of your nervous habits. Once you’re conscious of them you can be sure not to make these mistakes in your presentation. These nervous habits are a dead giveaway of lack of confidence/knowledge to your audience. Avoid shifting your weight while speaking, packing, dashing your eyes around the audience, over gesturing, etc.

  1. outline in your head

While it can be dangerous to have a full script written out word for word, it is good to have a thorough outline in your head. Take this outline and write it out several times, if there’s full phrases you want to ensure you say word for word write those out too. The repetition and the writing movement really helps to instill the words into memory. It’s also important to commit the outline into memory in your head. Using visualization techniques can be a helpful method as well to envision yourself making the presentation, where to incorporate certain visuals, leave pauses for questions etc. This is an important practice to implement before your presentation to get an extra bit of practice and feel more comfortable in front of the audience.

  1. power plays

Everyone has their power plays in their presentation. These are the key points that they hit the hardest, whether you find the point the most intriguing or you’re the most passionate about it this is your time to shine. Right before you go on stage before the presentation, remind yourself of this point. This extra power boost will remind you why you’re giving this presentation in the first place and give you some added confidence because you know you’ll rock that point.

Try and see how many of these tips you can actually implement before your next presentation, I bet you can do at least three. With emaze you can relax assured that your presentation will be a big hit, because of the confidence in the unrequited look and feel of your presentation slides. What other important practices do you partake in prior to a big presentation?