Public speaking is like any other skill, if you are going to improve you are going to have to practice. While it is true that some people are naturally better suited to public speaking than others, everyone can be proficient if they put in enough time.
Delivering your presentation in a given time frame is a challenge, but not one you should avoid facing! If you ever find yourself presenting in a job interview, at work, or at a conference, you'll be expected to stick to your time limit.
1. Find a watch or clock which you can use to time yourself.
2. Make a note of the time and begin to deliver your talk, but avoid the temptation to look at the clock again, and run through your entire talk.
1. Check the clock to see how long you spoke for. If you were well within your time limit, or spot-on, great, but remember that you might talk more quickly on the day so you may need to consciously slow down your speech.
2. If you were over the time limit, it's time to start trimming your talk. Being strict with your self, take out anything that doesn't reinforce your main messages.
It may feel like we are labouring the point, but you must practice your presentation. If at all possible, practice your talk in front of an audience. Your colleagues, friends, housemates, mum - anyone will do! Your volunteer audience doesn't have to understand your topic, they can still give valuable feedback on the quality of your visual aids and your delivery style.
As you practice your presentation, you should alter and refine both your delivery and your visual aids. If you find you simply cannot say all you want to say within your time limit, leave something out and avoid the temptation to 'shoehorn' the information in by speaking very quickly!
Use the feedback from your audience to make changes. If your mum is struggling to see your graph on your laptop in the living room, it's likely your audience will struggle too. If you aren't going to incorporate feedback from your audience into your talk, there's little point in asking them to watch it. When you have edited your presentation, ask your volunteers if they'll watch you deliver your latest version.
1. Deliver your presentation to your audience, and check to confirm you delivered it in the required time frame.
2. When you've finished, invite your audience to ask you questions - this is good practice for the real thing.
3. Ask your audience for feedback on the content, visual aids and delivery
4.Now you need to incorporate this feedback into your presentation - make any necessary changes to your talk.
5.If you made major changes, ask your audience if they'd be willing to watch your presentation again and give further feedback.
Now that you have put lots of work into your presentation, it is important to look at some finer details to make sure you are not caught out on the important day by completing the next section: 'Be prepared'.