The best tip I give to nervous speakers is to know what you are trying to communicate. Just as companies need mission statements and teams need goals, speakers need a purpose to their presentations. Before you present, figure out what your purpose is. Many presenters share everything they know about a topic, rather than everything their audience needs to know. It is not good enough to say your purpose is to present all the slides in your PowerPoint deck. Typical good purposes are to teach people something, inspire them to do something, or change their opinion about something.
Once you are clear on your purpose, you need to brutally review your presentation against two tests:
- Does my presentation achieve my goals? If not, add what you need to fix it.
- Does anything in my presentation not advance my goals? If so, remove it.