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If you were to take a moment to think of all the things that might inhibit you from delivering the kind of presentation you really want for your audience - what would be on that list?

I’m pretty confident there’ll be nothing there I’ve not heard before but from a presentation trainer; here’s something you might not have heard before – there’s very little I can do to help!

Thankfully there is plenty that YOU can do to help and naturally, it’s easier when you know how.

An online search for presentation training will rapidly reveal that there are many actors working in this arena. Is this because there simply isn’t enough acting work to go around or do actors know something about presentations that you apparently do not?

Imagine you are sitting in a theatre - what’s happening on stage feels real and it feels real for a reason.

An actor's job is to encourage you to suspend your disbelief to the point where you feel their words are being said for the very first time and you just happen to be watching.

How do they manage it?

Well, that's actually the art; the talent bit, but the process of getting to the point where an audience is allowed to come in and watch is not really a secret.

It's called rehearsal and outside the theatre, you may know it as practice.

An actor would never walk onto the stage with no idea of what to say and you can be assured as they step from the wings, this will not be the first time they have said those lines.

Actors really don’t know something you don’t, they just do what you should be doing before a presentation by thoroughly learning the words.

Actors have an expression to describe a moment in rehearsal they absolutely long for and it’s called “getting off book.”

Being "off book" simply means no longer needing the script in your hand to refer to for lines. Suddenly, you’re free to move and react to fellow actors more authentically. In other words, you can begin to perform and in even more other words, you begin to feel more confident.

Your journey to the stage might not be easy, but just like an actor, there'd be little point in even bothering if you had no idea what to say when you got there.

5 simple ways to make your next presentation even better

  • Know your audience
  • Know your content
  • Time it, then half it (yes, really)
  • Record yourself and watch it back
  • Rehearse. Repeat.

By Doug Knight, public speaking and presentation consultant