I’ve repeatedly read about visualization and its effectiveness in helping presenters get ready for a presentation. This tool calms the nerves of those who fear giving presentations. Presenters also find their presentations go smoother when they see what they get into.
A tennis magazine tells the story of a tennis player who got hurt and couldn’t play for a long time. The tennis player relied on visualization to prevent him from falling behind in his game. He visualized the court, the wind, the weather, the movements, how the movements felt and so on. He put himself in the picture using all of his senses. When he returned to the tennis courts, he picked up right where he left off.
Before you start visualization exercises for your presentations, practice your delivery and know your material. You didn’t write down everything word for word, did you? That increases your chances of relying too much on reading and less on delivery. As soon as you know your material — but not too well — do the following activities to start your visualization process.
- Breathe. Take deep breaths so you don’t feel rushed.
- Think about something relaxing. This ensures you stay calm and focused. It takes your mind off the audience.
- Feel good about yourself. Feelings are contagious. It’s like when you make yourself smile, you’ll feel uplifted and it carries in your voice.
Now it’s time to see yourself in action giving the presentation:
- Look around the room. If you’ve never been there, you might consider checking it out. Of course, it may not be possible. But you can count on chairs and a presenter’s table. Maybe you can call ahead for a description.
- Check your equipment. You want to do this upon early arrival to make sure it all works.
- See the audience. Everyone is in chairs waiting to hear what you have to say. If this bothers you, try looking at the walls behind them, the chairs or the tops of their heads.
- Walk to the presenter’s area. See yourself getting ready. Pull your notes. Prepare your computer.
- Prepare posture. Stand straight with a smile on your face. Remember your movements and facial expressions are important. Be lively and not stiff.
- Give the presentation. Pay attention to gestures, pauses (It’s OK to pause. It adds effect.), jargon-free words, connecting with the audience, changing up where you look, and interacting with visual aids.
- Finish the speech: End strong. Look around the room again while gesturing the end of the speech (a nod or putting hands together). Smile and tell yourself you did a super job!
Visualize as much as you can about your presentation. If you don’t have enough details, get some. Have someone send you a photo of the room and equipment. Ask about the equipment and microphone.
Have you used visualization for a presentation? How did it go?