'No need to practice in front of the mirror'

'No need to practice in front of the mirror'

Many people find it scary to stand in front of the camera. In fact, it's one of the biggest fears. No need for that, says speaking coach Sandra Dierx. She gives 5 tips to make your presentation a success.


1. Never think, "I pretty much know what I'm gonna say”.

‘"Good preparation is sacred to me. If you think: "I'll improvise a bit" or "I always talk easy", you may suddenly stutter in front of the camera. Or that you gave a nice presentation, when you could have given a super presentation', says Sandra Dierx, speaking coach and speaker with over 21 years of experience. Her advice: start on time and write out your text. Know very well what you want to say, what your core message is, how long it may be exactly and for whom you are doing it. It's a big thing, giving a good presentation. But people who prepare themselves well, have much more fun presenting and go in it with less stress.'


2. Practicing in front of the mirror? You don't have to

‘"It's an old fable: practicing in front of the mirror," says Sandra. "And all these years, I've never done it. The disadvantage of this is that you mainly look at yourself. It's much better to practice for someone else. Do choose someone who has knowledge about what you’re saying and can provide you with constructive feedback. So don't choose someone who loves everything you do or someone who pays attention to details that aren't very important at the time. For example, that your hair is not sitting right. What matters most is that your story is good and that you know how to get it across.’


3. Your very first and your very last sentence should be rock solid.

Sandra: 'Those two sentences really determine how a story sticks. For the very first sentence it's best to choose a question, a statement or storytelling. Above all, never start with: "I'm going to talk about..." That's really lethal. Finish with, for example, a question and also make sure it's clearly a conclusion, by how you emphasize it.’


4. Don't hesitate to ask for help

Even the most prominent speakers in the world have coaches. There are always things that can be done better. In your story, your body language and the pace at which you speak. If you want to grow in what you do, it's best to hire a professional. I still do that myself.

But perhaps the most important thing may be the connection with your audience. If the audience doesn't feel the same thing you're trying to convey, your message certainly won't come across. In a word, connecting is as important as your story. You work on your story beforehand, you connect during your speech.'

5. Are you introverted or extremely exuberant? Then also you can give a good presentation

‘‘Once I had a director who said the wise words: "Even if the scene is intense or emotional, always try to enjoy what you're doing," says Sandra. I regularly hear people say: presenting is not for me, because I'm introverted. Or: far too exuberant. Or: I find it too exciting. My experience is that everyone can do it, with the right preparation and by presenting in a way that suits them. Then it might still be exciting to stand in front of the camera, but afterwards most people think: how good I did it. And how cool it was. Everyone can learn to speak in public, that's why it's best to investigate your own style.’ 

Extra tips!

‘When I prepare myself, I say a text fifty times for myself. I really want to get it right between the ears. I do that on purpose when I'm doing something, so when I'm folding during the wash or when I'm walking. Then the story gets into your system. Don't be afraid to play with silence and pauses. Those are subtle things of the utmost importance, especially in front of a camera. It's also important to talk calmly and support your words with valuable hand gestures. That way, a story lands even better with your target group.’


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