Congratulations on your first keynote or presentation!  While the task of speaking in front of a crowd can seem daunting and scary, it helps to first recognize your accomplishment.  Presenting in front of a group of people means that you have something to offer them.  Make sure to take a moment to relish in what you’ve already achieved through the opportunity.

The single best thing you can do prior to your presentation is to prepare.  Preparing the content, structure, and flow of your presentation, down the finest detail, will ensure that you can focus on other things during your public speaking.  In addition, don’t stop at just preparing…. learn the content forwards and backwards.  The art of public speaking involves knowing your content like the back of your hard.  This will allow you to focus on other things during your presentation in order to maximize the listener’s experience.

Next, make sure to spend time visualizing your success.  Visualize yourself at the front of the room, presenting your keynote in front of your peers and boss.  Visualize yourself on stage, seamlessly flowing between the points of your presentation as you entice your audience.  Even more, visualize yourself succeeding.  Visualize laughter, people leaning forward in their seats, smiles and nods.  Believe it or not, visualizing is an important part of successful people, and visualizing success is key to mastering the art of public speaking.

Practice your presentation a significant amount beforehand.  Practice in front of the mirror, and practice in front of friends.  Ask your friends for feedback in several categories.  First, ask them to review the main points you discussed in your keynote presentation.  Did they pick up the important points you wanted to make?  Second, ask them about your mannerisms and characteristics.  Did you shift your weight a lot? Was your speech littered with ums and ahs? Lastly, practice in front of a camera and record yourself.  No one is a better critic than yourself, and watching your presentation will quickly reveal areas to improve.

Lastly, remind yourself that its only a presentation! Yes, this is important, and could dictate important progressions for your career and company.  But, don’t forget that most people are equally as fearful of public speaking, and know that perfecting the art of public speaking is not easy or quick.  The little things that you notice about yourself are often missed or forgotten by others.  With proper preparation, you will be ready to deliver a wonderful keynote presentation, and you’ll be on the road to mastering the art of public speaking.

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