Spoiler Alert: Authenticity and Preparation Can Make For a Strong Presentation

Preparing for and presenting to an audience is no easy task, but I enjoy every aspect of the experience.

Photo of D'Arcy Toffolo

D'Arcy Toffolo

Executive Managing Director

Preparing for and presenting to an audience is no easy task, but I enjoy every aspect of the experience. The rush of being “on stage” and performing at my best speaks to my competitive side as an endurance athlete. I feed off the energy from an engaged crowd and love to interact with individuals in a 1:1 fashion. And I treasure the opportunity to give back – to impart knowledge about a subject in hopes that others will learn and benefit from said knowledge.

When preparing for a presentation, here are three key components to a successful presentation:

Embrace the nervousness

Jay Mays of Pitch Labs refers to this type of energy as being healthy. It happens to the most senior presenters and only reflects on your commitment to the success of your presentation. Take deep breaths, do some jumping jacks — do whatever works for you to corral the butterflies and channel your feelings into excitement. You got this!

Prepare but not too much

Overly preparing and memorization can lead to a forced, inauthentic talk. Too little, and you risk missing key points and appearing nonchalant and indifferent to the topic. While everyone prepares differently, I’ve found writing down my key points in bullet form (instead of a fully written speech), paired with a live rehearsal (or two) with a partner helps to ensure a solid, authentic delivery.

Be Yourself

This may sound simplistic, but it’s important to keep in mind. The more your personality shines through, the easier it is for your audience to connect with you. For me, I try to keep my audience smiling and engaged by using light humor throughout to break up the subject matter. I never take myself too seriously, and I think that type of vulnerability increases relatability.

If you’re interested in presentation or media training for your team, we can help or connect you with Jay Mays at Pitch Lab. Good luck out there!