So, this is your first time?

I’ve always been in awe of the way Steve Jobs handles presentations.  Confident.   Knowledgeable.  No notes.  Live technology demonstrations.

For first time speakers, the thought of a presentation can be daunting, scary or petrifying.

Constance Wiebrands (one of the NLS5 committee members) has blogged about what she has learnt after presenting at a number of conferences.

In addition to what Con has blogged about, we’d like to make things easy, or at least easier, for you.  So your colleagues and PLN have suggested a number of hints and tips which, hopefully, will do just that.

Practice, practice, practice: This reduces the chance of accidentally running over your time limit & calms the nerves. Possibly, and what may seem ironic, is that by practicing your presentation, it may help you appear more spontaneous.  If you are lucky enough to also be heading to the ALIA Library Technicians Conference, you might want to attend Dr Lisa Cluett’s satellite event – she has some great tips and is a fantastic speaker!

Learn your content: Don’t read from a script. Learn your presentation, and speak to the audience. Don’t worry about the exact words. You’ll feel less nervous this way.

Breathe: Self-explanatory.  Most people are a bundle of nerves before presenting the first few times. It really isn’t as scary as you think it will be.

Engage your audience: Open with a story. Smile, joke and move around a bit.  You are not tethered to the lecturn or the laptop!

Visuals: Use what you are comfortable with.  If that means no tech, go with it.  If you want to use tech, be familiar with what you are using.  Be aware of how it can be received, i.e. Prezi is an awesome presentation tool, but maybe slow down the speed of the transitions – motion sickness is not cool (thanks @librarianhoi).   At the end of the day, your slides aren’t your presentation – you are the speaker, the communicator of your message.

Reward:  Once the presentation is all over, celebrate your success and reward yourself.  Who doesn’t deserve a shopping trip, a massage or something positive after achieving a major milestone!

Fingers crossed, you’ll be presenting like Steve Jobs quicker than you think!

Thanks to @lyndelleg, @helen_jess @flexnib, @librarianhoi, @msbecstar, and @acrystelle via Twitter, and John Chisholm, Matt Schmidt and Michelle Coles via Facebook for these suggestions. Additional suggestions appreciated!

Kelly :)

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