As all of us are aware, practice makes perfect. Therefore, in order to prepare yourself for the actual seminar, you should practice your presentation in front of a test group. Do ensure that the group you present to are open and willing to provide you with constructive feedback. If you choose a group who aren’t willing to express themselves or provide you with their honest opinions, then it’s pretty much a waste of time.
Firstly, when you practice in front of a test group, it acts as a form of rehearsal for the actual seminar. This allows you to learn from any mistakes that may occurred during this session. Mistakes are part and parcel of life, so we should accept and learn from them. It is almost impossible to memorise your entire presentation and give the exact one as you did in rehearsals. What’s important is that you do not miss out on all the key points. Practice on the way you personalise and customise your presentation each time. This will allow you to get better over time.
Secondly, by practicing more often, you will inevitably gain experience. Experience and knowledge are two of the most important factors that determines a presentation that can stand out. Obviously, before you get to this point, you would already have the knowledge required for your presentation. Next to get under your belt then would be experience. With experience, you will feel more comfortable when you are up on stage. Once you feel more comfortable on stage, you will be able to deliver an even better presentation for your audience.
A good place to practice your presentation and gather detailed feedback is at a speaker’s club such as Toastmasters International. You do not necessarily have to know every single person that you are presenting to. In fact, sometimes it would be better if you do not know them on a personal level. This is because you probably would not know every single member of your actual audience either.
Another way you can make improvements is by recording your own presentation and reviewing it afterwards. You can also send the recording to others, so that they can provide you with feedback too. However, only use this method if you’re really unable to get a test group. This is because the environment and people around does affect your presentation. Hence, you should always try to have a proper audience. It would also be wise to have your evaluators give feedback regarding your visual aids, handouts and personal appearance.
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