Whether you’re a student preparing for a career, an entrepreneur leading a brand-new business, or a seasoned veteran of a corporate empire, there’s a strong chance you’ll need to give a presentation to others sooner rather than later. Getting up in front of a crowd without making a fool of yourself is no easy feat, however, and something that millions of otherwise professional and competent people fail to do on a daily basis. Luckily, a series of tips can help you master the art of giving a killer presentation without stressing out.

Follow these tips, and you’ll soon master the process of giving a killer presentation, whether it’s for a wedding, business, classroom presentation or any other life event.

1. It’s all about preparation

Far too many people fool themselves into believing that killer presentations can be made up on the fly and followed without a game plan. While it’s true that certain individuals possess the talents necessary to stand in front of a large crowd and give an amazing speech off the cuff, it’s a simple matter of fact that most of us lack that ability entirely and are in need of extensive preparation if we’re to avoid making fools of ourselves. Luckily, some easy to recall prep tips can help us set the stage for our presentations the right way.

First and foremost, write down what you intend to say, give yourself some time, and then re-approach it and review it. There’s a strong chance something that was in your first draft will appear off to you during a second look, or that you’ll come up with a better idiom or expression to use in the meantime. For now, focus on writing down what you’ll say, how you intend to say it, and the ultimate, one sentence message that you hope your audience takes home with them.

2. Channel your inner musician

If musicians understand one thing, it’s stage presence. Whether you’re looking at classic rock and rollers, modern day rap artist, or ancient performers of old, musicians have always been forced to have a commanding presence on the stage in order to succeed. Study up on how musicians improve their stage performance and you’ll gain some crucial insight into how to tap into the natural charisma we all have lying dormant within us.

3. Don’t fear stress – embrace it

Here’s a little tip that few people will tell you—everyone feels stress, whether they’re willing to admit it or not. This may seem obvious, but many people sit in wonder as others climb up onto a stage and deliver a killer presentation without seeming to break a sweat. How is it possible they’re not feeling the stress of the moment?

The truth is, they are feeling stressed—and that’s okay. Everyone feels stress because that’s a natural part of the human experience. Charismatic speakers tap into their stress rather than trying to ignore it, which they understand to be fundamentally impossible. Learning how to manage your stress and speaking anxiety (because we can only ever manage it, never force it to leave entirely) is an essential part to giving a killer demonstration.

4. Focusing on presenting, not the content

This may seem interesting, but there’s a strong chance you’re paying too much attention to the content of your presentation if you’re struggling to give a good one. If you’re using PowerPoint templates, for instance, you’re probably reading directly off of it, a major no-no when it comes to giving a good presentation. Similarly, you may be clogging up your speech with hard-to-remember statistics that leave you tongue-tied or accidentally passing off contradictory statements directly after one another.

Try to take a deep breath, relax, and focus on the process of communicating rather than the actual data being communicated. Remember to make constant eye contact with your audience, to breath steadily and actively slow down the rate at which you’re speaking, and to try and master measured hand gestures instead of nervous hand-ticking. If you do these things, your presentation will be substantially smoother and less populated by clumsy errors that are easy to avoid if you know what to look out for.

5. Take your time

Above all else, the best tip to know is to take your time and breath. Most presentations go south because they’re rushed, or because the presenter forgets what to say next. By sticking to a measured pace and learning how important pauses are to giving a good speech, you’ll avoid finishing too early while also coming across as suave and collected in front of your audience.

Slow down, take some deep breathes, and purposely insert one or two deliberate pauses in your next speech, and you’ll soon be giving killer presentations like no other.

Aaron Lee
Aaron Lee is a serial entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. Since the age of 17, he has started and sold five businesses before creating Dash Serviced Suites--Hong Kong’s fastest growing asset-light, tech-enabled, serviced apartment community operating over 100 apartments. Aaron focuses on investing in technology to build industry disrupting startups.