Are you looking to improve your presentation skills? Do the thoughts of giving presentations or public speaking fill you with fear?
Well, you are not alone.
So many people around the world have very real fears of giving presentations and public speaking.
Now, with these ten sure-fire tips, you can permanently improve your presentation skills.
1. Be Prepared
Having nerves is normal. In fact, nervous adrenaline can be an advantage as it will help you focus and improve your presentation skills. The best way to overcome nerves is to be prepared. Make sure that you know the content of the presentation inside-out. Practice and then practice again. In advance, also consider what could go wrong. Have backup plans should certain things go wrong e.g., slide projector doesn’t work. Although, you might not be able to prepare for everything, the act of preparation will even help calm your nerves.
2. Focus On Your Audience, Not You
This is a key point – the presentation is about your audience and not you. Yes, it’s not about you. In advance, you should find out as much about your audience as you can. Then, craft your message so as to connect with them. In fact, the more that you know your audience the better you can select words, examples, and even the tone of the presentation. Ultimately, this will help you grab their attention and meet their needs.
3. Set Goals
For many people, designing a presentation can seem like an overwhelming task. But, in reality, it’s like working out “how to eat an elephant”. Eating a whole elephant seems impossible, but eating it piece by piece is far more manageable. So, ask yourself “why are your audience there?” and “What do they seek to achieve from your presentation?”. Then, set goals about what you need to achieve for them from the presentation. A framework of key points to cover will emerge and the “piece by piece” approach can be applied. Use these goals to grab the attention of your audience from the very beginning.
4. Organize Your Content Like A Good Story
All presentations should flow naturally. As a result, there needs to be a start, a middle, and an end. Engage your audience from the very beginning with something inspirational like what they’ll be able to do. And, make sure that you conclude with a strong summary and key takeaways.
5. Include Key Take-Aways
Your audience should always leave with takeaways that they can instantly apply to their own situations. Although audience members will naturally extract individual takeaways themselves, it is essential that you prepare insights in advance. Remember, takeaways should link naturally to the goals that you set earlier.
6. Use Stories And Humor
Humor and stories are key tools for any successful presenter. The use of stories and humorous anecdotes can inject a sense of fun and help to make content more meaningful. Humor and stories will also grab the attention of your audience, illustrate key points, and make the presentation more memorable. However, sometimes use humor and stories with caution and always make sure to be sensitive to the needs and backgrounds of your audience.
7. Be Passionate
The passion displayed by a presenter is a key ingredient of any successful presentation. Be yourself. Be credible and confident in your knowledge. It’s ok to admit to not knowing everything. It’s all about creating a sense of trust and passion on what can be achieved.
8. Ask Questions, Get Feedback
Presentations are all about interaction. And, learning is always a two-way process. Ask questions to encourage participation and gauge reactions by the feedback received. Asking questions, listening to the feedback, and even adapting a presentation will allow you to always focus on the needs of your audience.
9. Don’t Read
If you’ve ever attended a presentation, where the presenter read everything then you’ll know why reading is a bad idea. In fact, it’s boring for an audience when everything is just read aloud. Remember, if they wanted to read they would have bought a book!! Instead, create a script and use it to connect with your audience. And, use your eyes to make genuine eye contact with your audience to inspire your audience with your passion.
10. Watch Your Tone And Behavior
Content is always king. But, how you behave and your tone can also influence everything. A confident presenter that attends to verbal and non-verbal cues will always connect more with their audience. Visualize how you want to be received and practice as much as you can. Record and review yourself. Or, even as a friend for constructive feedback. Being prepared is essential.