The most obvious difference between a conference call and a presentation in an auditorium is in one you have people in front of you, and with the other you don’t. Looking past the obvious, there are far more similarities than differences between the two. So when I found some tips on BusinessWeek.com about improving face-to-face public speaking, I knew they could help when we do the big presentation on a conference call.
- "Believe in the Audience" – Most of the time, the audience is rooting for you to succeed, or at least to put on a good show. To do this, talk about what they want to hear. Research the audience beforehand, or begin the conference call with, "What do you want to hear about?"
- "Say It Out Loud" – Your presentation will be spoken, so keep your practice sessions realistic. Say it aloud and not just in your head. Call up a friend to listen so you can get feedback on your "phone presenter" voice.
- "Mimic the Situation" – This tip suggests you go to the location you’ll be presenting to get acquainted with the layout, and you can do the same for conference calls. Do a test call with a few people to see how everyone sounds. Try out the mute buttons, and use the lecture mode. If there’s also a web conference, practice sharing your desktop and running applications. Make your mistakes during practice.
How do you get over the fear of public speaking? What tips can you share with us?