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The key to any presentation is in the preparation. At all times you must come across as professional and in full control of your session. Following a good process for preparation will allow this to be achieved.

Follow three key points for preparation, these are; know your subject, scene setting and venue, prepare yourself. Let’s look at these individually.

• Know your subject
If you are designing your own presentation or delivering that to others you must understand what you are delivering. Ask yourself ‘what questions can I expect?’ try to anticipate this before the session and make sure you are prepared to answer these.

Different types of presentation you are delivering will effect on the best way of delivering it. If you are giving information, then you may not wish to obtain too much audience participation. However, if you are teaching any subject then it is advisable to obtain some participation from the group.

There is an old Chinese proverb ‘I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand’.
When designing material consider this quote and the interaction that you need from the audience, if you need interaction then how will this be obtained? We will discuss this further later in the training.

• Scene Setting and venue.
It is advisable at the start of the session by introducing yourself, state the reason you are there, what you will be delivering and any assessments that will be used. This way you can be sure that you set the expectations of the audience from the very beginning.

Setting the scene should only take a few minutes and gives the audience an opportunity to ask questions and to be sure that they are attending the correct session.

Scene setting can also include the use of ground rules. Ground Rules are essentially boundaries and rules that will help you to create suitable conditions within which your audience can work safely and learn. Ground Rules should be things like; turning off mobile telephones, attending promptly, time for breaks, respect for each other and participation.

• Prepare yourself.
You are the most important consideration when preparing to deliver a session. You must feel confident and be in the right frame of mind for delivery. Remember you are there because you know more than others on this subject. This makes you a subject matter expert- be confident in this.

An effective presentation is about confidence. You may be panicking inside but you need to be seen as calm and collected. There are many techniques that you can use to calm your nerves examples include;
Staying hydrated - Nerves will often cause you to have a dry mouth, drink plenty of water before you start and keep a bottle of water near you.
Keep fit – Try a quick stroll before speaking publically, this will release endorphins and alleviate anxiety
Positive visualisations – In your mind, walk through the presentation and think about how you will feel afterwards.
Use breaks to your advantage – Do not try to do your presentation in one breath, pause and take a deep breath especially when you feel that you are getting stressed.

If you have worries or concerns that are nothing to do with the presentation, like personal issues or work worries, leave them at the door and concentrate on the presentation.