In this video Erin Manning will talk about tips & techniques to help people prepare for their presentations. How to prepare? What to expect? Dos and Don'ts. From concept to execution...
All the tips and advice offered on this page are wisdom gotten from world renowned presenters. By the time you are done reading and put what you read to action, your presentation skill will go from average to excellent.
This article aims at covering a wide range of presentation skills. It is for this reason that advice from experts have been brought together to make things more elaborate. No matter your level of presentation; a rookie or a veteran, there are plenty of things to learn here. So let’s get started
- Let your passion drive you and find a link between you and your audience
There is no way you can do a proper presentation when you are always tensed on stage.
One fact any great presenter will tell you is to find a link with your audience whenever you are doing a presentation. But how? Let your passion be your driver as you communicate with your audience
Be sincere enough to your audience. Make them understand what you really care about. Once they sense your honesty and your enthusiasm, they will sure get stimulated by your words.
- Pour your attention on the needs of your audience
It not just about you, it’s about them. What will your audience take home at the end of your presentation?
What really distinguishes great presenters from the mediocre ones is that they try to meet the needs of their audience not try to show off their presentation skills. So as you prepare your presentation, always know what your audience will get out of it is what that really counts.
Never veer off while making your presentation. Be sensitive to the needs of your audience because they may come like subtle questions. You need to make it easy for your audience to get to you while making your presentation
- The simpler, the better. Go straight to the point
Don’t just beat around the bush or display your oratory skills. Let the core message you are trying to pass be within your field of vision all the time.
You become a great presenter when you are able to pass across your core message in the possible shortest time.
Professional presenters recommend using a 30-seconds elevator summary. Some others recommend writing the summary of you message on a small piece of paper, while some others say it should not be more than 15 words.
All these rules are saying the same thing. Keep your core message ultra-short and straight to the point. Anything you intend saying that does not add to your central message then cut it out entirely.
- Smile a lot. Keep your eyes locked with the eyes of your audience
This may appear quite simple to do, yet many presenter fail at it.
One way to create a connection with your audience is smiling a lot at them. Doing so will create a rapport between you and your audience. It also makes you feel more relaxed as you talk, because you know you are passing your message to individuals not a crowd of people.
To make smiling more effective, ensure there is enough light beaming on your face. Your audience needs to see your smile
- Good starting matters a lot
A good start ensures you captivate the attention of your audience and roll along with it all through your presentation
Before you start, your audience would have already anticipated you. The first few minute they give to you determines if they will give you their attention or not. So don’t blow it by telling them what they are not really interested in. It is better you start out with a witty joke rather than introducing yourself.
If you don’t have a joke, you can start out with a captivating short story or a picture on your slide.
- Keep 10-20-30 rule in mind for your slideshows
Guy Kawasaki of Apple recommends a presenter should observe the following rules for slideshows
- Slides should not be more than 10
- The entire presentation should not be more than 20 minutes
- Font size for your slides should be 30 point or more
The last rule ensures your message is well spread across the slides instead of being jam-packed on one slide. This also ensures you don’t fall victim of “Death by PowerPoint”
For a powerful presentation, a presenter must thoroughly understand the slides he or she presents. So matter how well “loaded” a slideshow is, it becomes useless without a good presenter. There is no need overstuffing your slides. If you must give out addition information, you can make use of handouts when you are done presenting
- Include captivating stories in your presentation
We find it hard to resist a good story
Stories prompt rapt attention, and also help us recollect what we learnt. Interjecting captivating stories while making a presentation increases the chances of your audience giving you their attention. It is best you start out with an interesting story and if possible, make your presentation look like a story.
Look for a story that will blend well with your story.
Here are some quick facts in telling the right story
- Pay close attention to the characters in your story
The turnout of events is what really makes a good story. As characters determine how a story will turn out, it is good to pay attention to them.
- Create a twist of event in the story
A good story has to be changing dynamics all the time. This leaves your audience clueless on how the story will end. They just end up wanting more thus offering you their rapt attention.
- Be effective enough in your voice
Spoken words aren’t a good means of communication especially when speaking to an audience. This is because of all their five senses, only one is engaged. That is why visual aid becomes handy when making presentations. But you can improve your use of spoken words by paying attention to your voice. You can achieve this by altering how fast you talk, emphasizing on a particular point and varying your pitch and tone all make you more interesting to listen to.
- Your body language speaks a lot
You may not know it but 75% of most conversations are communicated by body language
It is not just enough to give all attention to your voice tone. Your body language is passing a lot of message across without you even knowing it. It is therefore paramount you pass the right message via your body language. Some pitfall to avoid is crossing your arms while speaking, digging your hands into your pocket, walking all around the stage etc.
Let your body portray you as being confident and cool. As much as possible, walk amidst your audience.
- Don’t work yourself up, breathe and catch fun
You can’t be relaxed when you dread presentation. You need to be calm
Experts suggest you breathe slowly as you start your presentation. Never rush your breathing. Even as you present, take some moments to take a deep breathe.
If you can calm your nerves down, you are sure to come up with an excellent presentation. Your audience can’t enjoy your presentation when you aren’t enjoying it either. Learning to keep your nerves down as you present, makes your presentation rock.