If the thought of delivering a presentation to a large audience fills you with dread, you’re hardly alone. When we asked readers “Which speaking situations do you find difficult?” 64% said “Presenting to a large group.”
Whether you are speaking to five people or 5,000, careful preparation and rehearsals will allow you to speak with greater confidence. When you are speaking to a large group, take these actions too:
- Speak to individuals. Instead of facing a room full of strangers, connect with as many people as possible before you speak. Interview members of the group as you prepare your remarks, and arrive early to chat with attendees as they enter the room. If you are speaking at a conference, mingle with people in the day or two before you speak. Then you will be able to make eye contact with people you know, mention audience members by name and integrate their anecdotes into your remarks.
- Move around. If the room setup permits, walk around during your presentation, spending a few moments in every section. Walk as you make a transition, and then stop to deliver your point.
- Take a break. Ease some of the pressure on yourself and make the presentation more interesting for the audience by not speaking the entire time. Plan an exercise the audience can complete in small groups, share the stage with another presenter or show a video clip to illustrate one of your points.