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The secret's in preparation
Christine Sim
update on Friday, November 26, 2010

Most of us have experienced that "butterflies in the stomach" feeling when making a presentation to a group or in public. How can students and young professionals overcome nervousness and become persuasive presenters?

Thorough preparation is the first step. List the three major goals you wish to achieve, then script the key points using mind maps. This will help you recall the points during the presentation. If you are a novice, find a mentor who can provide useful critique and feedback for improvement.

Make sure you know who your listeners are and ensure their needs are met in the presentation. Speak in the right tone, volume and rate to put the audience in the right mood. Using body language and eye contact will help you build a rapport with your listeners.

Visual aids will be useful but do not over-rely on them. It's okay just to refer to them from time to time.

Try also to design a brief closing that summarises the key points for further action to be considered. Do not overrun the presentation - allow your audience time to ask questions.

After the presentation, reflect on how you have done and find areas of improvement. Seize every opportunity to practise to perfect your style. Read widely and write well so that you can structure your presentation contents effectively.

Christine Sim, general manager, Links Recruitment

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