You’ll want to arrive early so if you are unsure of where you’re going, look it up. Getting lost is not a valid 2013 excuse. Give yourself about 45 minutes to check the room, be sure the projector or microphone are working and to meet any other presenters, organizers and early arrivals. Feeling good in the room helps calm nerves.
As you are introduced, take a few deep breaths to help slow down your inner clock. You want the audience on your side from the beginning, so show energy, enthusiasm and passion in your voice from your first words. And smile – it will be heard in your voice and pass through the audience.
I always look for friendly faces, people who show their interest in the topic through their body language. These folks want to be Edutained. They want you to succeed. Make eye contact and check back with them often – if they look a bit confused you may need to let the audience catch up with you, maybe revisit an especially difficult point.
Get your audience involved by taking polls or asking simple questions. If you make a mistake own up, take a deep breath, and move on. Humor (not jokes) can help you keep the audience with you. Remember, there may be bumps in the road but you’re taking people on a journey.