Adam Grant, a Wharton professor, bestselling author and Entrepreneur In Residence is no stranger to the stage.
Classic studies by the late Stanford psychologist Robert Zajonc demonstrated that the mere presence of other people raises our arousal.
Dylan Chalfy, a gifted speaking coach and professional actor, suggests opening with a puzzle to place the audience’s attention on the ideas, as opposed to the speaker. Get the best of the best career advice, #lifehacks and style stories, delivered straight to your inbox—sign up here!

Consider this his cheat sheet to easing your nerves and delivering confident, standout presentations. A research study shows, people who tried to relax before speaking showed a lack of persuasiveness and confidence during their speech. Along with helping tailor the material, it humanizes the audience and highlights common ground. Malcolm Gladwell has made a similar observation about starting with a story: the audience gets absorbed in the narrative, and ends up focusing on the plot and the characters rather than the storyteller.

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