Public speaking comes naturally for some of us. Yet for others, it can be one of the most daunting experiences. Here are our top 10 tips.
Look people in the eye
Firstly, you want to begin by looking your audience in the eye. Avoid staring solid at the back of the room or at anything that isn’t your audience. Despite the nerves you may feel, you need to try and engage with your audience. You will come across much better if you look at members of your audience, so try to look at as many people as possible and avoid focusing on a specific section of the room. Being direct and engaging will help to improve your presentation skills.
It can become very easy to rush through and speak quickly during presentations when we’re feeling nervous. The trick is to take a deep breath before you begin and practice your content over and over again. You need to ensure that you consciously slow down when you’re speaking so that it makes sense to your audience, as you may understand what you’re saying, but they may not. You’ll even find that the slower you speak, the faster your presentation will go, whereas the faster you read, the more nervous you’ll sound.
Keep to the point
Stick to the point in your presentation and avoid waffling. Know what you need to cover in your presentation and what’s relevant to your audience. Don’t go off on a tangent and be careful not to fall into the trap of not fully explaining what you need to in an explicit way. Just because you know what you’re talking about doesn’t mean that your audience does. Being aware of sticking to the point can help improve your presentations skills in any presentation that you give. A clear and concise presentation is key to a great presentation!
Don’t bore your audience
Equally, it’s important to not let your presentation go on for too long. There’s nothing worse than sitting through a boring presentation. You’ll lose your audience quickly if you don’t engage them straight away. Try to include a joke to put them at ease and keep them interested. They’ll find you much more interesting if you start cracking the odd joke here and there to lighten the tone. Think about what presentations really bored you and avoid repeating the same mistakes in your presentation.
Make sure that you dress appropriately for you audience. Underdressing may not be the best first impression you could give! How you dress can improve how you feel and improve your presentation.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
The key to improving your presentation skill is practice, practice, practice. If you are well prepared, you’ll relax more and you’ll be able to deliver your presentation with ease. Practice in front of the mirror (no matter how silly you’ll feel!) as this will help you hone down on your delivery and your body language.
Project your voice
You need to project your voice and not just rely on the microphone. Speak clearly and slowly so that your voice carries better. There’s nothing worse than presenting and nobody actually hearing what you have to say, even if you have a microphone.
If you have to deal with questions in your presentation, ensure you answer them in a professional manner. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the answer as long as you handle it correctly! Even if people are being difficult, you need to make sure that you remain professional (even if they don’t!) People will usually be testing you on your ability to answer questions as opposed to what you actually say. Try writing down some potential questions and answers before your presentation, so that you are well prepared. This can help eliminate the unpredictable questions and improve your presentation skills.
Seize your opportunity!
If you have an opportunity to either present yourself or your idea then take that opportunity! If you’re presenting your business to perspective clients or employees, make sure you pull out all the stops to impress them. You may not get that opportunity again!
Have fun and relax
Enjoy your presentation! You may be nervous, but enjoy what you’re telling people. Take pride in your work and thrive in your moment and have fun. The more confident you come across, the better your presentation will be – guaranteed!
Take into account these simple steps when doing any presentation, and your presentation skills will improve in no time!