Honestly I've been thinking I'm not a good speaker, or not even a speaker, I never had this kind of chance from I was a kid, the only related thing I can remember is when I was a commissary in charge of organization and publicity in my college, there is a time to spoke to my classmates, less than 5 sentences with tension and anxiety, then after I graduated from my collage and entered in society, it's even hard for me to share technology to my teammates, who are also my friends and hangout with, after a session or speech from me, sweat always covers my face, and what worse is I always forget what should I say during the session, it's really embarrassing. it did have psychological impact on me.
However, this time I failed to shy away from that, as our customer government is visiting our office, and they will have an activity which is called government tour, while each team is supposed to have a 15 minutes presentation to show what they have done, they are doing and will do, how important they are, you know people from government are all executives, and our executives will company them, I have been through three times government tour before, but as a audience, this time will be the last time for this team to do it, since our team is going to be dismissed in next three months. as I mentioned we should improve our English capability, so leader found me and proposed: How about you do the presentation as it'll be a oppotunity for you to improve.
So the background story is there, it entered into preparation stage, I wrote a speech draft, includes introducing critical services we have built, how we consider our quality and so on, as you know sometimes it's not easy to describe technical stuff for people, it may not be accurate if I use my own vocabulary, so I choose to copy the description from github README page, as there always a brief description for the specific system on their README file. after that I spent much time on how to connect between each paragraph, as soon as the draft is settled, the next was a kind of physical work: recitation, keep every word in mind, practise as much as I can, then it is the rehearsal time.
I can see disappointment on everyone's face during my rehearsal, as my talking was not fluent at all, sometimes I even forget what to say then caught in anxiety, also with a not finished slides made presentation very poor, people gave me a lot of feedback, it took me almost one hour to review them one by one.
at the very afternoon, they run another rehearsal for me among our team, this time is as terrible as my first try, though they say it's better, to cheer me up, I have no confidence at all, only I knew that there is no time to take every advises, as the next day might be my turn for presentation, so had to choose "must to have" from them, and throw "nice to have", I asked my friend on the way back home: how can I beat fear, as I aways feel anxiety in front of public, then he gave me very helpful suggestions:
just imagine they are very stupid, they know nothing, everything you say is absolutely correct, imagine they are monkeys.
it really comfort me a lot, I couldn't help to laugh, all right, that's interesting, I started picturing that scene, a group of monkey walk towards me, and I hold a basket of bananas, give each of them a banana, they say banana is so delicious. it did reduce my anxiety, then my mind became very clear, I realised what my main problem is!
1. There are so many technical words in my draft, it has two disadvantage, first, audiences are CIO and other executives, they know nothing about technology and they don't care, second, technical word is not that oral, they are hard to remember and pronounce.
2. attend to trifles and neglect the essentials, useless sentences occupy too much room than they suppose to.
as soon as I arrived home, I changed my draft and complete slides, after went through it in my brain two or three times, I was exhausted, had to go to bed, but all my mind was still full of presentation thing, how a tough night it is!
as organizers told me whether I will present the next day depends on how the first four teams did, if they are fast then I will do, or postponed to the next day, on the way to office I talk to myself, "please today, or today would be a another tough day for me, and tonight would be a tough night as last night!"
The office tour is from 9:00 to 10:00, at 10:00 I still didn't get the notification, so that means I will present next day, without rehearsal, the only thing I want is be calm.
at the very next day I was the second one, I was wandering all the time, with both nervous and excited, lot of things come into my mind, how I want to perform well on everyone's face! and told myself all the time: "they are monkey, they are monkey, take a deep breath..."
Finally after the first team finished they walked towards my team, I started my presentation, it was much more smooth than I expected, I don't know why I feel I am so confident, with body language, even added more words which didn't included in my draft to make it humorous, I was more and more excited as the presentation goes by, everyone node their heads, finally it succeed, I can feel everyone's shocked, my team leader said it's the best he had seen ever, and at the next day one gorgeous lady of customers even gift to me her favorite chocolate and mentioned she's very moved by my presentation.
This presentation can not be more important for myself, not only because of the executives, but also I totally understand if I fail this time, I am gonna to lose all my confidence of speech stuff, I will never do that again, but if I succeed, I will tell myself: you see you can make it, actually after that session, I tell myself I am a born speaker!
at the end of this article, I would like to conclude how to do a successful presentation.
1. well prepared. it's must to have unless you have done the same thing many times, more prepared, more confidence you will have, it will also help you to find everything you should cover, make the speech comprehensive.
2. coordinate your word and slides, keep in mind how many slides you have, when to move to the next one, make it brief but attractive are also essential, this will in turn make your presentation looks smooth, otherwise sometimes you have to think about "what should I say next?" until you see your next slide, or "should I switch to next slide now?", anyway it distract you from your presentation.
3. Make sure your content is proper for both your audience and yourself, delete the fucking "professional" word which even hard for yourself to access, my experience is above is a typical example, and make my two rehearsals terribly failed, just keep in mind, what you are going to say is not only for your audience but also for yourself.
4. have a outline rather than everything, if you review your content, I'm sure you can list some items, what's first, what's next, what's the end, what should explain more, which part makes speech funny, when to leave some room for audience to think, if you cannot outline it, it means your speech is unstructured, or without logic, just keep these main points in your mind, even you miss any word or sentence, your speech will still looks good.
5. be confident, at least pretend to be confident. most people would feel nervous more or less, stay calm no matter what happened, there are many factors to show your confidence, don't speak fast, speak with expression, when you forget something, do not spend much time to remember it, just let it go, pretend they don't exist, skip to next topic,
6. details, details will make your speech perfect, body language, humour, eye contact, speak louder, font colour and background colour of your slides and so on, I know it's not easy for a newbie to cover everything, it requires numbers of practices, watch more famous speaker's slides, see how they do presentation, for example: steve jobs or guest in TED.
Of course there are more factors to help you an impressive presentation, after many presentations you will form your own style, practice makes perfect applys for every fields, all right, let's do it now.