Find Your Pool
If you can swim in 3 feet of water, you can swim in 300 feet of water. The skills needed to swim in different depths of water are all the same. Presenting is no different! If you can present to one person, you can present to 400 people. The physical and vocal skills needed to deliver an exceptional presentation are not dependent on the number of people in your audience. So, why do we find ourselves losing confidence as our audience grows larger?
Perfect practice makes perfect. If you want to feel confident speaking to a group of 400 people, you must first master those physical and vocal skills in front of a small audience where the added pressure of ‘drowning’ is far less apparent. As with anything we learn, we want to make the process gradual; Only adding stressors after mastering the step prior. When we learn to swim, we don’t start by learning the butterfly stroke in a 10 ft. pool. We first get comfortable in shallow water, advance to the basics of staying above water, then slowly work our way to mastering various strokes that allow us to customize our swimming experience.
If you’re just embarking on your journey to become a more effective communicator and presenter, start in shallow water. Learn the basic physical and vocal skills of presenting, become aware of your present abilities, then begin practicing those skills in one-on-one situations. Once you’ve mastered those skills interacting with just one other person, practice them with small groups or during intimate presentations. Soon enough, you’ll be up on stage presenting to a large group, amazed at how confident and trusting you are of your skillset.
If you can swim, you can swim in any depth. If you have the skillset to present, you can do it across any forum. All you must do is find your pool.