Here’s a tip:
DON’T HUG THE SCREEN! DON’T FEAR THE SCREEN!
It really is just a screen, no matter the size, no matter how many of them are behind you when you present, it’s just an inanimate object. It’s not you.
Let’s think about this for a moment. What are some of the top fears you havewhen you’re preparing a presentation?
- Does this make sense?
- Do I know what I’m talking about?
- Will all my slides go in order/make sense/not screw up?
You might have spent quite some time preparing your presentation, thinking about what to include, what to miss out, how to make it look good.
You’ve hopefully spent a fair chunk of time rehearsing your presentation but often it’s going to be you and your laptop or you in your office, you and your cat as the audience (just me?), not necessarily you in the room you’re going to be presenting in.
If you can’t rehearse in the presentation room, what is the first thing you see when you enter for your presentation? Big ole screen, huge, mahoosive, taking up most of the front of the room.
This big blank space can start to feel really overwhelming: will my presentation live up to the size of that screen?
Or, once you turn and see the size of the room, you might start to see it as a safety net, a blanket you can cling to instead of facing that big conference hall.
Take a deep breath and remember that it really is just a screen, nothing more.
It’s not sentient, it can’t fight back, equally it can’t hug you back.
The screen is just the backdrop for your story, even less important than your carefully crafted presentation, which is also just the backdrop for your story.
People have come to listen to you, to see you, to find out that vital piece of information that they can’t live without, from YOU.
So, when you’re confronted with a big screen:
Take a couple of deep breaths in and out
Tap the screen (if you can) and remember it’s just a screen
Then, before you start speaking, wherever you are on the stage or in the room, take a big giant step forward and STEP AWAY FROM THE SCREEN. Let it be your backdrop and let you be the main event!
Image from Scaredycat workshop, photo by Cat Bassett