At one point or another, most of us will be asked to deliver a presentation on a topic to a group of people. But public speaking can induce anxiety. The best ways to tackle that anxiety are to know your audience, know your content, start with a hook, keep your audience's attention, and finish strong. Follow these steps for a successful presentation.
Know Your Audience
Take the time to get to know your audience. Who will you be speaking to? What are their interests in you and your topic? How can you capitalize on their interests and connect those to your topic?
Know Your Content
You will feel a lot more confident if you know what you are talking about. While you don't have to be an expert in the field, you do need to have a solid understanding of the information that you are trying to share. Do your research.
Start with a Hook
Our human brains seem to learn from and enjoy narratives. So try starting your talk with an interesting but brief story.
Keep Your Audience's Attention
Nothing is more dull than a speaker who seems disinterested in their own topic. Find an angle to your topic that's interesting to you and convey your interest in it. Vary your speech both in terms of pitch and loudness. Don't dwell on any single idea for too long. Break your talk into 5-7 minute parts, and involve your audience by asking them questions (even if these questions are merely rhetorical).
Try ending with a call to action or communicate your main point in a fresh way.
And don't forget to practice, practice, practice! We have all heard the old adage that "practice makes perfect." While practice may not result in perfection, it will make for a better presentation than without it.