Hey I’m giving a talk next week internally and I am quite nervous, anyone got any tips? You might see it in a few months as a blog post too
Think of it more as having a chat with friends, take the pressure off
Or call in sick that day
You know the topic (I’m guessing), so be confident in your ability. Prepare some notes, not a script, or you’ll end up reading it rather than talking.
Practice it. Multiple times.
Deep breaths and slooooooow down.
Don’t worry too much if you look or feel nervous, it’s fine to be nervous, the whole ‘you must fake looking confident’ is a businessman ball-swinging competition thing
Whether nervous or not, just get the main message across, and you’ll have done your job.
Of course if it is pushing you into the wrong side of nervous, causing you stress or something, you can always ask if you can do it another way (prerecorded, send an email, slack post and a & a etc). No need to let a work task make you actually anxious or scared.
I did many in my career. First ones were nerve wracking tbh but you get more confident with practise.
As @Revels suggests, jot down some bullet point notes to help keep you on track. Try and free speech, if you can.
If PowerPoint involved, try not to just read out what’s on the slide. It’s uninteresting to the audience. Use the slide content as context for what you’re talking about.
If you try to involve humour, be very careful. Know your audience. Consider how BoJo’s humour was reported from conference.
Other than that, prepare, prepare, prepare. But try not to rehearse.
A lot to take in there, I know, however, I’m sure you’ll be fine, once you get started.
Make sure you announce that the developers need to release dark mode before halloween
Tell them what your going to tell them : tell them : tell them what you’ve told them.
The last thing you say is the thing that will be remembered most.
Imagine everyone in their underwear. You’ll end up giggling and so will they.
If it’s online you wouldn’t even have to imagine, just ask them to kindly put their cameras on wide angle
We can help write your speech if you like?
There’s some good advice already mentioned here. Just to reiterate: Go slow and steady and don’t sound like a robot - which you will get if you practise your speech so it flows naturally.
Being nervous is normal too if you don’t do these frequently. I guess you’ll know some people in the audience though so just periodically look at them to help calm your nerves. As I’m sure they’ll be giving you a nod of approval when you do.
I hope it goes well!
Pretending not to be nervous won’t go that well. Best to at least own it and work with it
I’ve only done a few and they were a bit of a panicky mess early on, so the advise below about jotting down the main points and, most importantly, not rushing it is great
What’s the topic? Who’s the audience?
Be aware that people will struggle to remember more than a handful of key points. If I gave you 5 sentences today, I think you - and most people - would struggle to recall them tomorrow.
Usually, therefore, presentations should drive home one or two points. Eg “X is good.” You can then use your time to explain why, argue your case. People won’t remember all your reasons in detail, but they’ll hopefully remember that they were thoroughly convinced that x is good.
Someone’s already said it, but this is why you need an introduction. If you just launch into it, people will struggle to identify the key points because they won’t be able to contextualise the information they hear at the start, and they’ll have no idea where you’re going with it. (Eg you might talk about user interfaces, but give the audience a clue where your talk is going. Are you talking about making payments easier? Are you making it easier for blind users? Do you think a particular aspect of the app needs improvement? You MUST give your audience some context/guidance or they’ll end up bemused and confused.)
Conclusions are important for similar reasons. The whole point of a talk is (usually) to deliver a message. People will receive that message better if you set them up appropriately, deliver it convincingly, and them summarise it for them.
Own it, they will love it.
Is it in person or remotely?
I actually found presenting at the company all hands remotely more scary than presenting in person!
I wonder, at Monzo do people talk in slack channels or at the side of the screen while the presentation is ongoing?
I’ve found that increasingly common/acceptable, but to my mind it’s pretty rude (wait for the presenter to invite questions!).
If it’s in person, try to get to the room beforehand, stand at the front, and practice speaking loudly enough that you can imagine your voice hitting the wall at the back. You don’t want to shout, but even with a microphone, doing this will make you slow down, enunciate naturally, and your audience will love you for it (there’s nothing worse than nobody being able to hear).
You’re going to smash it.
It depends - All Hands is basically broadcast rather than on a hangout - but we have #remotechat for chatting while it’s on going. You can choose to watch that channel or not. It’s about a minute behind what you’re actually saying though which can get a bit confusing.
In my experience during most hangouts people don’t use the chat function, although if you don’t remember to mute your slack notifications then it can get a little distracting for others.
It also depends on you - whether neurodiverse, introverted etc.
Remember you can own the space - get people listening in a particular way, or sitting in a particular configuration. It’s much easier for listeners to adapt than speakers, so you can ask for much more from them than you think
Be yourself AND believe in yourself
Talk loud. Talk slowly. and talk confidently. Talking slowly allows you to think about what you’ll next say loudly and the talking confidently then follows
Be personal. Talk as someone who enjoys the story, life, and the challenges involved. Personal references - quick ones - always work at keeping attention. Something different to the ‘corporate’ talks without being too ‘jokey’ or derailing the subject matter.
Not numbered, but free-speech it if possible - don’t read from a script. If you know the subject matter then this will come across. Communicate what it is to Joe Public and make it sound interesting - this will have the audience listening.
Also not numbered but related to (2.) above - don’t try and fill. If you have a 10-minute talk to do, you’ll do it easily if you slow down. If you think you have to talk, talk, talk to fill that 10-minute slot- you’ll probably jibber quickly for at least 15 minutes and easily overrun with a confused audience. Slow it right down, and get to the wrap-up on target. There is also nothing wrong with using 2-3 second pauses as segways in a presentation to help your composure. The audience will see these as natural.
Talking when the spotlight is on you can be a frightening experience if it doesn’t come naturally. I used to shrivel inside and the hour/15 mins/2 mins before I was supposed to speak I often considered the ‘running’ option. But if you can calm down and go with it, it is one of the most rewarding feedback experiences you’ll receive. Living in the moment isn’t easy when you want to your pants, but if you can stay in that moment and remain thinking clearly - it’s simply incredible to overcome that fear. And the more you overcome it, the more comfortable you become with it.
Like a stand-up comedian or a live-theatre actor - butterflies, action, applause.
I wish you the best of luck. Believe in yourself and you’ll smash it. You can stand up. You can talk about what you know. You CAN DO THIS.
Another tip. If using PowerPoint from Office 365 it has a great practice feature where you rehearse into your mic and it grades you on pace, pitch, filler words, inclusive language, if you’re just reading from the slides etc.
There is some brilliant advice in this thread already so this might be redundant but my mantra for presentations is “the audience is on your side”. They will forgive or ignore most “mistakes” that the presenter thinks are a big deal.
It’s helped me a lot and now I do loads of presentations. We’re all on your side