There are a number of questions that we consistently get asked in relation to public speaking and presentations. Here are a few of the most common questions, along with our answers:
1. What if the main decision maker is suddenly called away or taken ill and can't attend the meeting where I am due to present?
What at first may seem like a major disaster is actually nothing of the sort. By being adaptable, you can tailor your presentation to the rest of the audience, and ask them to convey one or two key points to the decision maker later. Emphasise those key points to ensure that they thoroughly understand them.
2. What if my projector and presentation end up in Houston when they should have been on the same flight as me to Orlando?
Rent a projector locally, either from the hotel or from an audio-visual company listed in Yellow Pages. As for the presentation, foresight and preparation would mean that you carried a backup with you in your hand luggage.
3. How many times should I read through my speech before presenting it?
This is one of those 'how long is a piece of string' type questions. The answer is, as long as it takes for you to feel comfortable at presenting it. For some people it will be one or two times, others may need five or six readings, or even more. There is no substitute for preparation and practice.
4. I have seen some speakers and presenters who like to walk about in the audience, what is your view of this?
Everyone has a different style, and there is no right or wrong with this technique. It really comes down to what works for you, and what is most effective for the audience. If you gauge that an audience is uncomfortable with it then it's best to stop, but some audiences seem to enjoy it, especially if it sets the speaker apart from others in a long seminar.
5. My mouth dries up very easily and I find that within five or ten minutes of presenting a long talk, my mouth is very dry. Is there anything I can do?
Some people do suffer with this condition through no fault of their own, even some experienced speakers. The answer probably sounds obvious, but you need a drink! When you arrive in the room, place a glass of water on the podium so that you can take a few sips when you need to during your talk. Just the reassurance that the drink is there can help too. Don't worry about how the audience might view you, it is perfectly acceptable to do this._______________________________________________________________
Paul Daniels is often described as The Johnny Carson of England. In his home country he is a household name due to his more than 20 years of prime-time TV shows that have been broadcast to 41 countries. Paul's course: The Stress Free Guide To Public Speaking and Presentations is the International best selling speaking course - visit: http://www.stressfreepublicspeaking.com for more information.