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Rehearsal Tips for Presentations

Do you have a presentation coming up? Tribute, Inc. staff members provide instructional presentations every year at Tribute's Annual User's Group meeting (TribNet) and use the following methods to be as prepared as possible. It's important to Tribute staff to make the presentation of features in our ERP software packages a good learning experience for our users.

Try some of these tips to memorize your material, calm your nerves, and prepare for a successful presentation.

A common reason for anxiety is the fear that we will forget something important that we wanted to say. Many people combat this fear by creating detailed PowerPoint slides as a memory aid. But, this can actually signal to the audience that you are too reliant on your slides and not credible. Try some of these memory tips instead, as suggested in this article by Bruna Martinuzzi for the OPEN Forum:

  • Use the Palace Method. Humans remember things on the basis of spatial locations. To use the Palace Method (also called "method of loci"), To create a memory palace, think of your home, a familiar street, or some other memorable place. Mentally walk around your home, street, etc. and number stops along the way. On each stop, you place a piece of information that you want to recall.
  • Use mind maps. Mind maps are diagrams that allow you to lay out all of your presentation material in a visual shape rather than in list form. Try practicing your presentation from a mind map instead of traditional notes and see what happens.
  • Know the value of focusing for eight seconds. Memory experts tell us that it takes an uninterrupted eight seconds for a piece of information to be processed into memory. Carve out dedicated time when you can be laser-focused on rehearing the information without any interruptions.
  • Practice the 20-20-20 rule of rehearsal. How long should you be rehearsing your presentation? Memory experts recommend the 20-20-20 rule which prescribes going over the details of a presentation for 20 minutes, then repeating the same material twice more.
  • Rehearse out loud. Try rehearsing your entire presentation out loud at least five or six times.
  • Practice to music. Consider listening to music (such as classical music with approximately 60 beats per minute) while rehearsing your presentation to help you absorb and retain large amounts of information.
  • Record your presentation. A simple, yet surprisingly not widely-known, feature in PowerPoint is the record narration function. This allows you to record yourself delivering your presentation and then playing it back. Hearing yourself narrating your presentation will provide you both a visual and auditory memory aid.
  • Rehearse before bedtime. Neuroscientists have found that sleep enhances the consolidation of recently-acquired information in our memory system. Therefore, if you rehearse your presentation just before bedtime, you are more likely to remember the material more easily in the morning.

PresentationHere are some additional tips on preparing for a presentation via SketchBubble:

  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Don't read from your slides or notecards
  • Know what you're talking about

Do you get extra nervous when speaking in public? Try these pointers to manage presentation nerves, courtesy of this article from Mind Tools:

  • Know Your Audience. The more confident you are that you are presenting your audience with useful and interesting material, the less nervous you will be overall.
    • Define who your target audience is.
    • Ask people who are representative of the audience what they expect from the presentation.
    • Run your agenda by a few people to see if they think something is missing or is overkill.
    • Greet audience members at the door and do a quick survey of why they are there and what they expect.
  • Know Your Material. You don't have to be an expert, but you'd better know your material very well on presentation day. Consider selecting the most pertinent points from your subject base and then supplement with other material if time allows.
  • Structure Your Presentation. Try these techniques to give yourself clues to what is coming next:
    • Have a set of key phrases listed on a cue card.
    • Refer to these phrases to trigger your mind as to what is coming up next.
    • If you're using slides, use these key phrases in your transitions.
  • Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. Once you know what you are going to say, you need to prepare yourself for the actual delivery.
    • Decide what you are going to wear – make it comfortable and appropriate.
    • Arrive early and get your equipment set up.
    • Anticipate problems and have backups and contingencies in place in case something doesn't work, you forget something, etc.
    • If possible, give everything one last run through in the real environment.
    • Prepare responses to anticipated questions. Try to think like that one person in the front row who always tries to trip the presenter up.
  • Calm Yourself from the Inside. Counteract the physiological effects of nervousness with these techniques:
    • Practice deep breathing
    • Drink water 
    • Smile 
    • Use positive visualization techniques
    • Press and massage your forehead to energize the front of the brain and speech center
    • Just before you start talking, pause, make eye contact, and smile 
    • Speak more slowly than you would in a conversation, and leave longer pauses between sentences
    • Move around during your presentation to expend some nervous energy
    • STAY or Stop Thinking About Yourself. Remember that the audience is there there to get some information and it is your job to convey it.

Tribute, Inc. is a provider of ERP distribution management software for industrial distributors that provide value-added and fabrication services. Each year we hold an annual user's group meeting (TribNet) focused on networking, collaboration, customer input and instructional presentations of our software features. If you're interested in TrulinX, an upgraded technology for your distribution business, visit us at www.tribute.com

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Tribute, Inc. is a provider of ERP business management software for distributors and system integrators in the fluid power, hose, motion control, automation, fluid handling & pump industry who provide value-added services.