To be ready to speak at any opportunity, I recommend you:
- Know what you're talking about. Research. Have backup plans.
Anticipate questions. Know the answer to those questions. It's a lot of
work, especially if you're still on the steep point of a learning curve.
But it's worth cramming on stats and concepts, and most especially
terminology. Because nothing makes you sound more like an idiot than
using wrong jargon.
- Remember that what you're saying has value, even if it feels like
you're rambling, even if you don't feel qualified, even if participant
stares are indiscernible between interest and boredom. You are here as a
resource. You can (and should) utilize audience knowledge and
incorporated it into the lesson/presentation, but be sure to moderate
and anchor the information, otherwise discussion can end up in la la
land. And la la land makes you sound like an idiot.
- Eat/drink safe. Meaning normal meals (no breakfast burritos from the ferry cafeteria galley [whoops!], no trying out something new, or drinking like a camel [though I highly recommend a Diet Coke to settle the burrito stomach, and provide a healthy energy punch]). Maybe it's just me and my fickle gastrointestinal system, but nerves mess you up enough, so normal can only help. You want to spend your pre- and during presentation time thinking about how smart and well-spoken you are, not how much you need to go #1, or, heaven forbid, even worse, #2.