No script.

Only 3 dress rehersals.

Over 5000 people awaiting you to say just a few things to make or break you for the rest of the conference.

You are the second presentation, following the Key Note and your CEO.

No pressure, right?

After my most recent, and probably largest “live” audience I have been in front of yet, I thought it would be great to reflect on tips to help you get through your next “big” presentation, no matter how big or small your audience or speech.

1. Butterflies Never Leave
I still remember shaking my knee franticly behind the podium at the White House almost 10 years ago, though I stay focused on delivering influencial words as no one would notice the leg.

This time, my heart raced. It raced until I said the first few words and then calmed. But it raced again a few minutes before I knew my next turn to speak was coming.

Butterflies never go away, well, until you are done and hear the audience applaud. You have to hang tight and thing about the conversation you are about to have with the audience and how you are the expert. They are here to hear your advice.

2. Complete Your Script Then Chuck It
You do need to develop a script to figure out the right flow of conversation, especially if you are interacting with a few people on stage. But once you have the flow down pat, kill the script.

By this I mean now focus on key words or concepts you want to relay, but forget about memorizing the exact lines – that will throw you a curve ball if you all of a sudden forget the next line on stage when you only practiced twice.

You are the expert, right? So if you have the essence of your conversation at hand the “script” should come naturally.

3. Roll with the Punches
No one is perfect and something, at least 1 thing, will choke. Be ready to roll with it – either don’t highlight you just choked, because the audience won’t notice, or, if a colleague on stage bites it, help him or her out by saying some lines that could trigger the continuation of the dialogue to get the conversation back on track.

In the end your audience is expecting to be entertained, taught something, or moved to take on a call to action, or all three.

Show ’em what you got and make them want to hear more from you in the future.

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