These days, presentations form a large part of our everyday life in the jobs we do. Not only can presentations feel like an intimidating and nerve-wracking prospect, but there is added pressure nowadays from employers who feel that being good at presentations is a necessary skill in the workplace. Fortunately, you don’t need to be born with good presentation skills, as this is something that can be taught and learnt with practice and some useful tips.
One of the first things that it is important to be aware of when you’re giving a presentation is that the setting is often such that the audience may switch off, should you not be engaging enough. The simply dynamic of them being seated and you being stood up is enough to imply that there is limited participation needed from their side, and so if the presentation is not engaging enough, it’s easy for them to start thinking about other things.
To try and prevent this happening be sure to keep them entertained by keeping your tone interesting, moving around when you’re talking, and actively engaging your audience where appropriate. Anything can become repetitive, from your movements to your tone, so if you see that you’re losing your audience at all, be sure to change things up a bit. Remember it’s not just your words that can be dull.
Body language repetition is the silent killer of presentations. Be aware of how you’re presenting yourself. A simple gesture used once or twice is perfectly fine; however a repetitive gesture can quickly become irritating and distracting. It’s normal to feel judged when you’re presenting, as standing up in front of a room full of people presenting your ideas is quite a judgemental environment, but try to be self-aware and when you feel yourself slipping into outwardly nervous behaviours, shut them down as quickly as possible.
One thing that is important to remember is that you are your harshest critic, and in fact, it’s almost impossible for you to be completely objective regarding your performance. With this in mind, do not to listen to your negative thoughts about yourself. We have all been in a situation where you’re thrown off by a particular question whilst giving a presentation and all you can focus on for days afterwards is how you could have dealt with it better. Remember this is you being hyper-focussed on your faults, so if you’re looking for some true feedback, the best way is to ask for some feedback from a few audience members following your presentation. This way you can work on any criticisms directly to improve your presentation skills in an efficient way.
Follow our tips to prefect your presentation skills and never fear a presentation again
The best way to deliver a good presentation is to understand your audience and what they want. Cramming all possible information into your slides will only be information overload, so to ensure audience participation, be sure to list the key, bare bones bullet points of what your audience want to know and get them to fill in the blanks by asking you questions and being engaged. Holding some information in your back pocket will not only make you appear more knowledgeable when you’re asked inevitable questions, but will also encourage a healthy dialogue with the group.
One of the most important parts of perfecting your presentation skills is to remember that when you’re presenting, you are in control. This means that you are in charge and commanding the room. Although this may feel like an intimidating scenario, it’s also a very powerful one that gives you the chance to speak with authority regarding something that you know the most about. Use the opportunity wisely to show off what you can do, and always remember that no one knows more about what you’re talking about in that moment than you do. Don’t be afraid to be assertive.
Another presentation skills tip is to never lose sight of the message you’re looking to convey. Try to pinpoint just one thing that you would like the audience to walk away agreed upon, should they only remember one thing; and be sure that you’re using all the communication techniques available to you to get your message across. This means not just your words, but your body language and your tone. Use emotive language and rhetoric questions to really steer your audiences thinking to your view point. Your audience will not always agree with you, but being clear on your message will keep you focussed and concise and will help your audience to understand exactly what is it that you want to get across.
Never forget that passion is mandatory. Getting your point across without passion is not only boring, but it’s futile. Your audience needs to understand that you truly care about what you’re saying, or else what is the point in any of you being there and dedicating your time to it? Share your passion and encourage everyone else to also feel passionately about what you’re saying. If you don’t care about what you’re saying, then why should your audience?
If you’re looking to develop your presentation skills to a more professional level, or if this is a service you think would be beneficial to your employees, be sure to take a look around our website to better understand how we can help you to achieve this.