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  • Bruce Rule

Show Up Early If You Want to Improve Your Public Speaking (Part 2)

show up early to help your public speaking Bruce Rule Rule Communications

My No. 1 tip on making an effective presentation is very simple: Make sure you show up with plenty of time to prepare. Giving a strong presentation can be difficult. It can be even harder when you show up at the last minute and are forced to speak right away. In my last post I listed several reasons why it is a good strategy to make sure you arrive at the venue with plenty of time to spare. Once you get in the habit of doing that, you will definitely see an improvement in your public speaking. Here is the previous post on showing up early.

Here are four more reasons:


4) Showing up early reduces your anxiety by eliminating the worry that you will be late. You likely will already feel stress because you will be speaking in public. Getting to the venue with plenty of time to prepare will eliminate any concerns about being late so you can concentrate on giving the best presentation you can. You only have so much head space at any one time.     

5) Showing up early enables you to make sure the setting is suited to fit your needs. For instance, with my public speaking workshop I find it is most effective to have the students sit at tables put together in a U shape. A few workshops ago, I arrived to discover the tables were set up in squares of four. Because I had time, I was able to rearrange the room the way I wanted before the students arrived.

    Perhaps you need a table on stage to rest some materials on. Or maybe you would like a lectern removed so you have more freedom to move about. It’s your stage, and you have the right to use it in the way you feel will be the most effective for you, In fact, it is your duty to your audience to make sure everything is in place so they can concentrate on your message.   

But do it early — you want the housekeeping to be done before the audience filters in. Making the audience wait while you rearrange things in front of them looks amateurish. It is also a distraction and may even put your audience in a less receptive mood.

6) Showing up early will enable you to do some last-minute preparation such as using the toilet, checking your makeup or making sure your tie is on straight. You may want to find a quiet space to give yourself a short pep talk or practice a power pose (Here is my post on the benefits of power poses).

7) Showing up early enables you to meet people in the audience before you go on stage. This is my favorite piece of advice and the one I find most helpful when dealing with an audience of strangers. Smile and say “hello” to early arrivals. Introduce yourself and thank them for coming. Then when you go out on stage, look for the people you met and smile. I guarantee that most will return that smile, pleased to be recognized. It’s always easier to start a presentation when you have friendly faces in the audience.   

This works even when you do know everyone in attendance, such as a work meeting. Greeting your coworkers individually and making small talk creates a connection that usually makes them more receptive to your ideas.

When you follow these tips you will be more relaxed and confident when you begin your presentation. As I always mention, each person is different. So you may find some tips more useful than others and some may not apply. But arriving with plenty of time before your presentation doesn’t have any downside. Get in the habit and you will see some benefit.

So, show up early.   

Please add your name to my mailing list to get a free copy of my cheat sheet: Seven Reasons You Should Show Up Early.

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