You’ve submitted the Board Report, and it’s time to relax and celebrate all your hard work over the last few months with your team. Next up: deliver your final presentation to the panel, and then you’re one step closer to the CFE.
This week we have suggestions to consider while practicing, and next week we share ideas on what to plan for and handling presentation day.
Practice, practice, practice (and then practice again!)
Presenting to a panel can be uncomfortable if public speaking is not your thing. However, each time you simulate the experience, it will help you feel more prepared and build your confidence. The more confidence you have, the less intimidating the experience. When practicing, think about the following:
Take that post-it note off your laptop’s webcam and record a trial run of your section in front of the camera. Then self-assess your footage using the “Oral Presentation Evaluation Form”. How was your eye contact? Did you look away the whole time? Could you see yourself reading your notes? Did you stare aggressively into the camera without looking away, or did you look or gesture away a few times to appear more natural?
How was your timing? Did you rush, ending faster than expected, or did using crutch words like “umm”, “soooo”, or “like” take their toll and send you over time? Remember, if you run over time, your teammates will be under pressure to find ways to reclaim that time.
Find an audience
Now that you’ve mastered presenting to your webcam, try to find someone you are comfortable speaking to in person. Be sure to set and communicate expectations with your audience, and note to them if there is anything specific you would like them to help you with (such as counting your “umms” if you know that you rely on crutch words, or pointing out if you turn your back when gesturing to the presentation or look away too often).
If you cannot find someone to present in person, you can always present to a pet. However, if you cannot convince your pet to sit still, you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a list of mentors who may be willing to assist you.
When transitioning to the next speaker’s slides, nothing is worse than when the speaker is caught off-guard at the end of their section and has to quickly say, “…and now I’ll pass the presentation off to…”. How will your team deliberately and effectively transition from one member to the next? Practice what the end of your section and the start of the next one looks like to create a smooth and seamless transition between speakers.
How will your team advance slides? Will a team member stand by the laptop and advance everyone’s slides? Will you have cues, so your teammate knows when to advance the slide? Or instead, will the team have a clicker? If so, will it be passed around, or will a single member control it? If you are passing the clicker, can you do it without walking in front of the screen? By planning and rehearsing these small details, you can appear more prepared and professional, and turn a great presentation into an amazing one!
Too long, too short?
What is your team’s strategy to monitor the presentation time? Can you discreetly control your time and avoid distracting your audience?
Does your team have a plan if the presentation is moving too quickly or too slowly? Consider identifying parts of your presentation that can be expanded or shortened depending on how time is flowing. This can help avoid reaching the strict cutoff and having the panel timekeeper stop your presentation mid-way (especially if some of your best content is at the end!).
Next week we will share ideas about things to prepare for and how to get through presentation day.