I’m about to make my first public presentation for a new job I started back in February. This job entailed changing careers for me. After 35 years as a journalist, I’ve moved into research and analysis now.
A friend tried to tell me I’m still a journalist because I still write, gather information and disseminate it, but I disagree completely. I use those skills, but what I’m producing, how I’m delivering it and what end-users expect from me has changed radically as has the issue of immediacy, which I always felt was the essence of being a journalist. Today, I’ll be speaking about research one to two years old, for example, hardly news or hardly journalistic.
And that likely explains why I’m so tense about this first public speaking undertaking in my new role. I don’t know whaht’s expected of me or what will be a measure of a successful presentation.
I think the best way to deal with such tension when preparing to address a meeting in a new job is to practice, practice and practice again before you speak. Know your material so you’re ready for questions. And expect the unexpected when it comes to discussion.
Practice in front of real people to get feedback. Don’t be afraid to create a detailed outline of what you want to say but try to avoid a word-for-word script. Someone reading a presentation usually sounds like just that and can be deadly boring.
And be yourself, above all else, get comfortable with who you are in your new position and what you bring to the table.