It is said that the average person’s greatest fear involves speaking in public. While it can be nerve wracking to get up in front of total strangers and discuss a subject important to you, it can be overcome with proper preparation.

Peter Benedict St Andrews managed to do it, and now he runs a business delivering presentations in front of businesspeople everyday. If you want to become like him, learn the steps outlined below:

1) Know your topic thoroughly

If you want to be taken seriously as a presenter, it is essential to be well-versed in whatever subject you are discussing.

Spend weeks assembling the information which will inform, engage, and entertain the audience to whom you are delivering the presentation.

If there is a certain aspect that confuses you in any way, fill in the gaps so you aren’t left flat-footed when someone asks you an unexpected question.

Do your best to anticipate questions that will come from the audience so you can be prepared to give them an informative reply, all while maintaining your integrity.

2) Use powerful images

While your presentation will be delivered orally, images can add an impact that can take it to the next level. Everybody love pictures, as they add colour and life to what would otherwise be a dry lecture.

Additionally, a decent chunk of your audience are likely visual learners. By including relevant pictures and diagrams, they will be able to better grasp the concepts you are discussing, rather than struggle if you were to simply talk the entire time.

3) Practice regularly

Some people think they are able to perform in the spur of the moment, but there is no replacement for practice.

By rehearsing the gist of what you what to say, less ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’ will sabotage the flow of your delivery.

However, do not attempt to memorize remarks so you can deliver them verbatim. Doing this will place an incredible amount of stress on you, and your vocal delivery will come off as inauthentic.

Additionally, practice can help you to be conscious of the body language signals you give off. By going through dry runs in front of a mirror or friends, you or your allies will be able to spot bad postures so they can be corrected before you go before your audience.

4) Dress sharp

Your appearance will go a long way towards determining how others receive your presentation. If you are about to give a business talk in front of a bunch of bankers, wearing your sharpest pinstripe suit may deliver the added punch needed to make the impact you are looking to achieve.

Conversely, going before this same crowd with a baggy, ill-fitted suit from Burlington Coat Factory make negate any points you make throughout the presentation.

5) Connect with your audienceq

You may look great and make killer points in your presentation, but none of this will matter if you aren’t able to connect with your audience.

Craft your subject matter to whom you are speaking: your speaking style should vary if you are speaking to an auditorium of college students rather than a room full of CEO’s or politicians.

Weave a joke or funny story into your opening: everybody loves to laugh. Make eye contact, sweeping from one side of the room to the other. Answer questions openly and honestly.

You are giving your presentation to open minds and create dialogue. Make every effort to connect to the folks to whom you are speaking.

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