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How to keep your peace of mind during a presentation

Sabina Krupko
2 min read
How to keep your peace of mind during a presentation

Despite the hard work we invest in getting ready for the presentation, the presentation itself often leaves us wiped out.

Answering these four questions may help you to preserve and multiply your mental energy while presenting:

1. Who is your audience?

The more detailed answer you give to this question, the easier it will be for you during the presentation. “Colleagues” and “amateur engineers” are quite general descriptions. Amateur engineers can be either undergraduate engineering students or former government workers who code at night as a hobby.

The more specific description of the audience you get, the less uncertainty will be left for you to figure out during the presentation.

2. What does the audience expect from the presentation?

We often tie audience expectations to our goal. We may think colleagues want to join a Zoom call to learn about new information security rules.

Most likely, colleagues want to finish an email to a client during the security training. Their goals may be very different from yours.

The good news is that we don’t need to fight the audience’s goals. We need to know them by asking open questions such as “what is important for you to discuss?”. Once we know them, we will start to adjust to these goals. Most of it will be happening unconsciously.

The top-grade is to know how to create audience expectations.

This is how one of the presentations about the information security standards was started: “We wanted to get our information security standards to the next level. After receiving permission from our CEO, we hired commercial white hackers to try to hack his laptop. Let me share how they did it”.

3. What is the main idea of ​​the presentation?

People will forget 80% of what you say in an hour (it may feel very relieving, by the way). You need one thought that will stay with them.

Most ideas are cats out of the bag, but one particular will have tremendous power when you voice it. But only if you know what your main idea is.

The main idea of the presentation can help you in many situations — if someone argues with you or if time’s up and you need to finish your thoughts.

Spend some time polishing the main idea of your presentation. It is always worth it.

The main idea can be as simple as “The world’s thinnest notebook.”. Steve Jobs repeated this phrase repeatedly while introducing MacBook Air until everyone remembered it forever.

4. What is the first thing you will say?

The first five sentences of a presentation are like the first hour of a new day. The better you prepare them, the easier the presentation will go.

The first five sentences should be honest. They should be about you and the audience, and they should build some credibility into the process. The more your background differs from your audience, the more carefully you need to choose the first words you say.

Take care of your peace of mind!

Sabina Krupko

👩🏻‍💻 Sabina Kupko is an HR professional and a learning geek with 10+ years of experience working in tech companies. She is rethinking how people learn and writing posts about the world of work.