Speaking at events: 10 Common Problems and How to Handle Them
How do you feel about making speeches or presentations?
I’m sure that all of us have had this pleasure or will have an opportunity (or a duty) to make a speech in the future. Do you remember the crowd or were there only a few listeners interested in the lecture topic? Maybe they were bored?
Never mind the obligation or joy it was for you, never mind whether the audience was enthusiastic about your speech…you can always make your next presentation more impressive and unforgettable! We are happy to share with you the most common problems.
Take a look at this list! Ask yourself about a problem and check the solution we propose.
Even the highest quality device may fail and hamper your presentation, leading to an awkward delay. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like a big problem – testing the device before sounds like a sufficient solution. It also allows you to get familiar with space and tools you’ll be using during your speech.
But what if this happens in the middle of your speech? In fact, the time to think of handling this situation is before your presentation. You should be prepared with a joke or flashy line, because without a doubt, you’ll be stressed at that very moment. Nevertheless, using humor shows your audience that you’re not nervous and that you’re still in control during time of setting things right.
Finishing on time?
At every conference, where there are many speakers and all details are planned and included in agenda, time plays the huge part. It’s strictly set and limited so you shouldn’t go over it. Audience gets uneasy if you’re approaching the time limit.
To avoid unpleasant situation of lengthening your speech, use a timekeeper. It’ll help you plan your next words and if necessary – choose the most important part of the presentation in case if it turns out too extensive. But remember: practice is key – if you give your speech few times at home, you’ll know exactly how long it takes or what are the possible fluctuations.
Why don’t they listen?
The beginning is the most important part of the work. – Plato
In fact, the first impression is important or even essential – also during your speech. If you start your presentation with something boring and trite, there is a threat that your audience’s minds will drift, and you may not get them back.
What’s one of the best ways to make your presentation more interesting? Make the audience a part of it: a thought-provoking question, witty joke or a provocative statement make your audience take some action, draw attention and awake their interest. It should provide their engagement and focus until the end, keeping in mind what you said.
Why do they have empty eyes?
Even at the strictly specialized conferences, there is a certain amount of totally inexperienced people, who just entered the branch or started the journey with your presentation topic. But even for experts, there can be issues that are unfamiliar. To prevent the situation when attendees have empty eyes and don’t know what’s going on – send your materials in advance. It’ll let you avoid extra explanation during your speech, make the topic more understandable or even allow attendees to dig deeper into the issue.
What if I forget what to say?
Forgetting momentarily is not an uncommon occurrence. It can happen at any time. You’re sailing along fluently. Then, suddenly, everything slips your mind! It’s totally normal while giving a presentation, especially speaking to a wide range of audiences. But, there are some ways not to let this happen.
First of all – practice. Out loud. Several times. Every next one brings you closer to a successful presentation. When you feel uncertain during the speech itself – prepare some notes and keep them nearby. You should read them quick and easily not to be striking, so take care of font size. Large, simple, and legible writing lets you get back on track at a glance.
Do I need one more screen?
If you want to get rid of the concerns or worries about the technical aspects of your presentation, it’s good to see the lecture room in advance. Why? It’ll let you be sure that your audience has a proper view on screen and consequently – on your presentation’s visual aids.
I can’t respond to the question?
Questions are welcome and desired during every presentation – they make the proof of attendees’ engagement, focus, and what’s important – willingness to know more. But sometimes question requires a complex answer, and with the limited amount of time, it isn’t possible to give one. Also, know that there is no shame in admitting that you don’t remember some specific data. Referring the curious attendee to your sources or just asking this person to leave their contact info in order to answer later seems like a good step in this case.
Why am I so stressed?
Among all phobias, public speaking is considered one of the highest. It affects 75% of individuals that suffer from speech anxiety. It’s often caused by ambition for perfection or a need of approval. But no one is perfect and pratfalls or mistakes are inevitable. What can you do then?
Rehearse, but don’t obsess! There are many exercises that help you beat the pre-performance stress including breathing control, positive visualization or motivating music, but the rule number one is to be prepared. Probably the best way to reduce nerves during the presentation is the state of mind that you’re well-poised, so the solution is to practice much, but not to lose the plot. Remember about relaxing breaks or a while of entertainment during the rehearsal time.
They will forget, isn’t it unless?
Post-event content creates crucial value for speaker and conference organizers, but most importantly for the attendees. Even brilliant, persuasive, and inspiring speeches, although they are borne in mind for a long time, are not unforgettable. The best solution, which provides full content is to record the presentation. But the content you produce can take up many different forms. Sometimes simple blog post, photo or a tweet keeps your speech alive.
Do they really appreciate me?
Today’s conferences use innovative technological devices to measure attendees’ level of satisfaction. One of them is an meeting app, which includes interaction, ranging from sharing thoughts and images, to gamification and live polling. You can use an event app to track opinions in real-time, to see audience’s mind about almost every part of the conference including your presentation, speech or content. In addition, the surveys and polling results create a great feedback for you.