One of the main reasons that people choke or the main reason that people don’t do well with their presentations is because they’re distracted. Oftentimes when I think about the speeches I give, when I get off the stage after the speech is done, I’m not thinking about, how were my hand gestures? Was my eye contact the best? Did I use the stage well? Was I moving around the stage? No, what I’m thinking about is, oh man, I forgot to say this part in the speech and now I can’t get it back. Or I wanted to end a certain way, but I didn’t end the way that I wanted to end.
What I would suggest you focus on when presenting is the content of the speech, not necessarily all that non-verbal stuff that I’m sure a lot of people often talk about when it comes to public speaking. I will not say that nonverbal communication isn’t important, but ultimately you’re up on a stage talking and the words that are coming out of your mouth need to be take precedence over everything else. It’s the content that really resonates with me, at least when I’m in an audience listening to presentations. I don’t know if many of you all do this, but whenever I listen to speeches or at least the ones that I really care to learn something from, usually I’ll bring a piece of paper and a pen to take notes. And I can assure you by the end of the speech, on my piece of paper, I haven’t written “Well they didn’t use the stage very well”!
I’m trying to get actionable take away points that I can use. I’m listening to the words. Sometimes even when I’m listening to speeches, I’m not even looking at the speaker because I’m busy writing or sometimes I even have my eyes closed, just trying to absorb what this person is saying. If the words are lacking, that’s what makes me tune out.
Overthinking it is the reason that people really don’t do well with their public speaking or choke while they’re on a stage. Don’t overthink; focus on the message instead. Make sure that the message is easy to follow and that you have a call to action whereby people know what they need to do after the presentation. But I think the message should always come first because ultimately, you’re not a pantomime on stage – you’re a speaker. So speak!