Science is not the dispassionate analysis of impartial data. It is the human, and thus passionate, exercise of skill and sense on such data.– Philip Hilts
As we have seen, presenting a talk well actually begins with the first step of preparation. The confidence that results from both having a clear message, and knowing how to guide listeners to it, is a major step toward success.
The many preparation steps involved in creating a presentation come together in the act of delivery. In this chapter, we look at some techniques that help a speaker confront the challenges of presenting, beginning with a nearly universal one: nervousness.
The most common fear about giving a presentation revolves around fear itself. Many people wonder how the best public speakers overcome this fear – hoping, perhaps, that there is a magic pill to cure it. The unavoidable fact is that, when it comes to public speaking, nervousness never goes away entirely. However, as the Latin proverb says, “Our fears always outnumber our dangers.”
As of this writing, the authors have performed and presented for a combined total of nearly 50 years. Each has been told that he must be one of those “natural speakers.” Yet both still feel butterflies in the stomach before taking the podium. That is because standing in front of others always involves a degree of risk: that of making a mistake, of being judged, of a technological failure, and so forth.