For most professionals, no matter what industry they are in, there will come a time where they have to give a presentation. This might be for a small group of people who are part of your immediate team, or for a wider company meeting, or even bigger at a sales pitch to an external company or at a conference (where there could be hundreds of people in the audience). Improving your presentation technique could be the difference between climbing the career ladder or staying in a comfortable position. It isn’t for everyone of course, but it can’t hurt to brush up on your skills and learn ways to impress your audience, no matter who they are.
Here are a few tips to help you gain confidence and purpose with your presentations and become an effective speaker as a result.
Be As Clear As Possible With Your Message – When writing your presentation it is important to have a clear idea of what you want to say. Clarity is important when presenting, as it is easy to waffle on and go into long-winding sections where the relevant information becomes lost in the noise and the audience loses focus. Focus on your key points and make sure they are what is heard.
Tailor For Your Audience – If you know who exactly you are going to be speaking in front of before you write the presentation, all the better. You can tweak the style and type of delivery to suit that audience whilst maintaining the key points that you want to get across. It also helps to structure the presentation to be general or more specific, depending on the audience.
Get Into a Good Flow – There has to be a solid structure to your presentation, with the key items delivered in time and in perfectly outlined sections. Giving a good presentation will be much more possible if you structure your talk so that it flows from one point to the next in a way that you are comfortable with. Start with a clear introduction, letting the audience know what to expect (and to give you a little reminder). Stick to your flow, don’t confuse things by jumping around from one topic to another, and back again, and end with a strong conclusion, summing up everything you’ve just delivered.
Practice A Lot – It never hurts to practice anything that you want to get better at. Presentations are no different. Whether it’s in front of a mirror, or for a friend or loved ones, practice your presentation in as realistic way as possible. Learn to project your voice and deliver in the time frame you know you’ll have to work with. At first you’ll have notes, but try to practice enough so that by the time it comes to deliver the presentation you can do so without having to look too much at your notes and look less confident as a result.