Earlier this year I was given a golden opportunity. To deliver a Keynote presentation to kick off a European event for a large multi-country software company. There were 500 people in the audience. It was a big stage and I had 40 minutes to fill. I was the first one up. It was quite scary and beyond my comfort zone, but I still said yes. Despite my trepidation It all went well. The key for me was practice. Here’s what I learnt.
So, you’ve written a fabulous speech, with a powerful start and a strong ending. Your slides look great and you’ve practiced endlessly. Now, it’s the day of the big presentation and there’s a lot at stake. No matter how experienced you are, you'll go through a range of emotions. You could be nervous, anxious or super-excited. Adrenalin and cortisol will kick in. Your heartbeat will go up and your palms will get sweaty. So how you do prepare on the day of the presentation? How do you make sure you’re ready to give it your best shot?
Recently I saw a fascinating TED talk by David JP Philips called ‘The Magical Science of Storytelling’, where he explains how certain chemicals in your brain are triggered when we hear a great story. He refers to these chemicals - oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins as ‘The Angel’s Cocktail’, the emotions we all crave when we hear a great story. With practice we can all trigger these emotions when writing or delivering presentations. Here’s how.