You get worked up just thinking about it. Your next pitch or presentation is a big one and you need to hit a home run. Sound familiar? Here are some tips for you to consider before stepping up to the podium, whether it’s for a big speech, sales pitch, or presentation:

Look professional.

We live in a superficial world and like it or not, people make snap judgements. That means you need to be dressed and groomed for a professional crowd. A good rule of thumb-dress one step up from your audience. Another words, if your audience is business casual, dress in business attire.

Nail your opener, nail your close.

The most important part of any presentation is your opener, followed by closing remarks. If you don’t get their attention in the first minute, you’ve likely lost them for your entire pitch. If nothing else, practice your opening lines until you feel like you have a strong command of the content. A bullet-point based note card can get you through the middle. Finish strong. Leave them wanting more.

Watch your body language!

Stand-up straight. Check your posture. What are your arms doing? Crossing your arms sends the wrong message. People ask me all the time, “what should I do with my hands and arms?”  Do what you normally would do with them when speaking with someone one on one. What feels natural usually looks natural.

The eyes don’t lie.

You’ve probably heard the tip that you need to make eye contact with people in the room. That’s true. It’s doesn’t mean you stare at the corners of the room every thirty seconds or so. If you want to make an impact on people, you need to connect with people. Literally.

Avoid all distractions.

For the love of God, leave your phone in your office or in your purse somewhere else. Vibrate mode in your pocket is not going to cut it. Every text, email, or call will be enough to throw you off your game. It’s not worth the risk. Lose the phone.