Presentation is the most important key in any domain of your life. Whether it is a Professor at your college lectures, a motivational speaker in self-help sessions or a good orator at socio-political events, the art of presenting in a convincing and persuasive manner will leave a lasting impression on the people.
The arena of the business world is no different, especially when you have to convince your employers or colleagues to agree with your proposal. It becomes imperative that you become an expert in how to communicate in public and learn to present in an effective way.
Nevertheless, not everyone is a fan of public speaking. In fact, for some people, it can be an overwhelming experience. Glossophobia or the fear of speaking in public is more common than you may believe.
Research showed that up to 75% of the population has speech anxiety.
But like all other phobias, you can also manage your fear of public speaking by applying some of the techniques that enhance presentation skills.
To help you navigate through the art of efficient presentation, here are some of the things you can follow to improve your presentation skills.
1. Stay on Topic
Firstly, you should keep in mind the proposal or topic you will be displaying while formulating your presentation.
Add all the relevant information but keep it as short as possible.
Do not move away from the topic by augmenting indirect links and approaches.
Remember, your content needs to be precise yet engrossing. So, the best way is to stay on topic as your clients or team members will be primarily interested in that.
2. Focus on the Audience, Not Yourself
You may want to demonstrate all the knowledge you have in your presentation, but it is essential to know the audience before you start writing it.
Learn more about their profession, interests, companies, and qualifications to connect with them in a better way. You need to keep in mind that the presentation is for the audience and not for you so it is necessary for them to comprehend it.
Moreover, if you keep your scope to their interests, it will be easier for you to seize their attention.
3. Be Passionate and Engaging
To keep your audience immersed right from the beginning, you need to put in some strategies to enhance your introduction.
One way to achieve this is to begin by asking some questions to understand their perspective a bit better or to direct your conversation to the subject for your presentation.
While doing this, make sure that your tone is not monotonous and that your voice is enthusiastic throughout the session. If the presenter themselves are not spirited about their presentation, how would you count on the audience to pay attention to you?
4. Practice Positive Thinking
A crucial aspect of your activities is the sort of attitude you maintain towards them. It is common to be nervous and feel overwhelmed due to the pressure of public speaking but you can deal with the obstacles by developing positive thinking.
Positive thinking simply means dealing with things with an optimistic approach.
It doesn't mean that you should ignore contemplating things but that you should begin concentrating on the good aspects of the situation.
5. Embrace Pauses
There is a possibility that you may forget what you are going to say next during your presentation.
People with speech anxiety generally start blabbering or saying "um" or "aa" when they don't remember. In such a situation, the best thing to do is to embrace the pauses.
Stop for a moment and recall your ideas but do not let them show on your face so maintain a calm expression.
6. Know your Time Limit
This step is important when you are preparing your presentation.
Find out the amount of time you will be provided to present and work on the presentation within that time frame. For example- If you have been offered an hour, try to make your presentation 35-45 minutes long to leave some extra time for questions and discussions.
7. Keep It As Short As Possible
Even if you have been provided an hour and you think you can cover the topic in half of that time, avoid unnecessarily prolonging it.
Make sure that whatever you are sharing is relevant to the presentation.
Apart from the things you've added to lighten the mood, it is best to leave out additional information. However, you can add a brief summary before closing your presentation so that your team members are mindful of the subsequent actions they are supposed to take.
8. Be a Storyteller
You must have seen business magnates telling their life stories to make their TED talks even more interesting. If your workspace and presentation content offers you the opportunity to enhance it with some anecdotes, do not hesitate to include them.
People enjoy listening to stories about other people's experiences so it would be more fruitful than commencing your speech with tedious information.
Nevertheless, keep your anecdotes work-appropriate as there are certain ground rules you need to follow.
9. Be Loud and Clear
It is fairly common for people to communicate in a low voice when they are anxious. Clarity is an essential factor that enriches your presentation.
Work on speaking loudly so that even the people who are sitting in the last rows are able to hear you. Proper articulation of your words is essential for the audience to understand your presentation.
Remember to be concise and refrain from adding too much information. If you keep speaking without any breaks, your audience will have a hard time following and may tune out completely.
10. Practice Speaking In Front of Others
Learn how to present yourself in case this is the first time you will be going for a presentation.
You can initially speak in front of a mirror to correct your gestures and sentences.
Later, you can ask your friends, family, or colleagues to listen to your presentation. Keep yourself open to constructive criticism as it is essential to delivering a successful presentation.
11. Maintain Eye Contact
Non-verbal features of public speaking are equally important. Maintaining eye contact helps to increase audience engagement as they will see that you are interacting with them and paying attention through eye contact.
Moreover, it will help you to notice how receptive your audience is to your presentation.
12. Limit Text - Add Visuals
Not everyone is a fan of reading. That's why modern-day digital media has attached visuals to generate fascinating content. It is never a bad idea to put in some visuals related to the presentation to make it more vibrant.
However, if your slides are crammed with text, your audience will be occupied reading your bullet points to concentrate on what you are saying.
It is better to speak about most of the information rather than incorporate all of it into your presentation slides.
13. Include Videos
Integration of videos is another tactic to have a responsive audience. There are various ways to include movement in your slides.
You may create a short video connected with your professional venture during the introduction. Enhance your points with pictures and GIFs.
It may appear that visuals do not have any significant impact on your audience, but once you use them the result will be palpable.
14. Visualize Boring Data
Every one of us must have once been an audience in someone’s presentation. So, we know the bland tone which can take over the room if the slides are dull, colorless, and textual.
But when you are in a professional setting, it is natural that you will be compelled to talk about numbers and figures.
If you are demonstrating statistics, make a GIF or a colorful graph to portray it in a creative manner. This also ascertains that you have put a lot of effort into your work.
15. Don’t Read from the Slides
The best way to deliver presentations with authenticity is to indicate that you have thoroughly read and researched the topic.
Nobody would be listening to you attentively if you keep turning back to your slides to read out.
To restrain yourself from looking back, practice your presentation after memorizing the elemental things from the slides. If you have understood the subject, it won’t be hard for you to explain without reading everything.
16. Maintain Confident Body Language
Some of the signs of weak body language are shaking, trembling, stuttering, or being unable to stand still.
If you exhibit these signs, your audience will divert their attention to your nervousness and will likely question your credibility, measuring that they probably know more than you.
A strong body language that evinces confidence will dominate the room and compel the audience to hear your speech. Even if you are nervous about the presentation, do not let it show in your physical gestures.
17. Be Open to Questions
Before moving on to the next part of your presentation, you may consider taking questions from the audience.
Give your best to answer their questions but do not hesitate to accept when you do not have enough information about a certain thing.
18. Check the Technical Details
It is always best to check everything beforehand. Contact your technical team to make sure that your PowerPoint slides, visuals, and audios work properly.
Check it by running it before the presentation to figure out if it's loading swiftly.
And Keep Practicing!
Remember, no one is born with exceptional communication skills. Most of us hone them with practice, practice, and more practice. With these 18 techniques, you will be prepared to deliver a successful presentation.
You will also realize that public speaking becomes easier when you know where to focus. Remember to take deep breaths and drink plenty of water before going for a presentation- do not sweat it out.
Being on stage is a fearsome experience for most of us but some methods alleviate the anxiety. Doing homework beforehand and practicing on the presentation help you to get ready to stand in front of the audience.
We are here to take your hand on the way of your career. If you want to get more ideas. Keep reading us!