Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Five Factors to Consider when Preparing for a Presentation

by Jeffrey Aucoin, Assistant Coach - Harvard University

Communication is one of the most important parts of our job as a coach.  We are constantly called upon to speak in front of small and large groups.  Some examples include explaining a drill or strategy to our team, discussing benefits of our program to recruits and their families, interviewing for a job and presenting at the AVCA convention.   As coaches, we are constantly asked to communicate in different ways, in front of different audiences and for many different reasons.  As a result, public speaking skills are essential in becoming an effective coach and allowing ourselves to develop professionally.

Public speaking is not only used as an extrinsic motivator but, public speaking is also beneficial for us intrinsically.  Public speaking allows an individual to boost their self-esteem, share their passion with others, and network with other professionals.  With the amount of influence public speaking has on our careers, it is important that we prepare for each speech the same way we do for each match!

There are five important factors to consider when preparing a presentation:

Preparation

Rehearse: It is important to have a strong grasp on the material you will be speaking about.  Memorizing the material is not enough to be an effective speaker.  Throughout a speech, it is easy to get distracted.  For this reason, it is important to rehearse the information and practicing presenting 5-7 times in order to refine your speech and allow the information to flow smoothly.

Chunk information:  For those longer presentations, break it down by chunking each topic of the speech into its own category.  You are more likely to remember your information on a broader spectrum based on a category rather than memorizing each word of a speech. 

Rest: It is important to get a good night sleep before your presentation or interview.  A good night’s rest will help you not only remember the information for your speech but will help keep you on your toes when questions arise.

Confidence
Instead of nervously rehearsing your speech another seven times immediately before you step in front of your audience, do something that will help you relax.  This could include reading, playing a game or talking to a friend.  Another confidence booster includes power posing.  Amy Cuddy, a professor in the Harvard Business school, did a TED talk on power posing and how it relates to confidence.  I have met with her a number of times to discuss this topic and how it relates to athletics.  I would highly recommend this video to those of you interested in building confidence!

Power Poses:


TED Talk:




Hydrate
One of the biggest issues of public speaking for people is nervousness.  As a result, it is important to stay hydrated before and during your speech because those nerves cause your mouth to dry up and for your voice to become raspy.   This makes it difficult to deliver the speech you have been preparing for!

Dress to Impress
Look good, feel good!”  This is a common phrased used by many when it comes to appearance.  It is important to have a favorite outfit or a superstitious outfit you wear during any significant event because this allows your confidence to go up.  When confidence goes up, you allow yourself to feel more comfortable to deliver your speech or presentation.

Be Heard
You must capture the attention of your audience!  One way to make sure you have their attention is to be certain they can hear you!  Articulate what you are saying and confirm the back of the room can hear you clearly.  One easy way to practice this is by having a friend stand in the back of the room you will be presenting in to make sure they can not only hear you but, hear you clearly!
Are you taking the proper steps and putting the necessary time in to public speaking in order to grow as a professional and make yourself a more effective coach?

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