If the mere thought of standing before an audience makes you break out in a nervous sweat, know that you are not alone. The fear of public speaking is real and affects a large number of people. In some cases, it can also cause severe anxiety and stress. Yet presentation are an inevitable part of the modern workplace, and effective presentation skills are essential to career growth.
If you are practising your first presentation or simply looking for tips to make a good presentation ‘great’, you are in the right place. Walkerstone takes a close look at some of the most important do’s and don’ts for giving a great presentation in their latest infographic.
As the infographic correctly points out, anyone can deliver a killer presentation as long as they have the right content and have done enough preparation. The importance of practice in delivering a great presentation cannot be overemphasized. Practice as many times as possible, preferably in front of a test audience who can give you honest and constructive feedback. Speaking the words out loud will also help you perfect your thoughts and structure them in the best way.
Choose your words carefully so as to make the maximum impact on your audience. But that doesn’t mean you fill your presentation with long, ten-dollar words that put your audience to sleep. Keep it simple, clean, and effective. Pay particular attention to the first few words because they are the most important. If the audience finds your introduction dull or uninteresting, they are not going to listen to the rest of it. Your first sentence should capture the audience’s curiosity and imagination and inspire them to listen to what you have to say. If you can research your audience beforehand, you can tailor your words and content to match their needs and wants.
At the same time, don’t forget that your tone of voice and body language are as important as words when it comes to communicating effectively. In fact, it is said that 55% of an overall message is communicated through body language. If your words indicate enthusiasm but your tone and body language say otherwise, your audience will not give your words much credibility. Avoid major body language mistakes like crossed arms, pacing, fidgeting with your hands – all of which can send the wrong messages. Keen an open posture. Use eye contact to build rapport with the audience and convey your passion and interest for the subject.
Also, remember that your slides are just your signposts. Don’t read from them or rely on them to convey your message. That is your job. Your audience wants to hear you speak, not read to them. Use your presentation slides to complement your ideas. If you want to use handouts or props, make sure you have them ready to go.
And finally, try to relax and enjoy yourself. Breathe deeply.Your audience is likely to appreciate the presentation more if they see you relaxed and confident.