First Presentation Back in the Office

Bill Smartt

You’ve gotten used to your work commute consisting of traveling to and from your living room every day. But now you’re going back to work in the office and you’ll have to not only reacquaint yourself with your workspace but also adjust to in-person interactions with your team. 

Sure, you’ve been having weekly meetings and messaging on Slack and Google Hangouts, but communicating effectively in person is a little different. Presentations in a room with all those eyeballs can be overwhelming, especially when you’re out of practice. 

Here are some tips to overcoming the initial awkwardness of your first in-person presentation back at work:

Be prepared, not perfect. Where we get into trouble is when we try to be perfect. When you’re having a conversation with someone, you don’t aim to be perfect, so don’t psych yourself out when you’re presenting. View it more like a conversation; make eye contact with your audience to see if they’re receiving your message. If you stumble on a word or two, just let it go and have a sense of humor about yourself. 

Do some run-throughs out loud. Practice the 5 times rule. Go through your presentation out loud at least 5 times. When we speak, we’re translating what’s in our brain to language, so by speaking the actual words, there’ll be fewer tangents, you’ll be more concise, and you’ll feel more confident when the time comes to stand and deliver.

Slow down and pause often. When the pressure is on, and all those eyes are on us, the natural response is to speed up so we can get out of that stressful situation and get back out of the spotlight. We go so fast, that people can’t keep up, and we don’t come across as the subject matter experts that we are. In your run-throughs, think about the period at the end of each sentence, and pause. It’ll seem like the pauses are lengthy, but if you record and listen back, you’ll see how natural they sound, and how much more confident you sound.

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