Becoming a better presenter is becoming a better communicator and thus, becoming a more successful individual. In this article, we will take you through a step by step process of how to improve your presentation skills by learning how to keep your presentation clear and focused.
Presentations are important to everyone, whether at school, university, when looking for a job, while at a job, when starting a business and when seeking investment or financing. It is one of the essential skills in any career whether you are an academic, a doctor or a business person.
Reasons Why Presentation Skills are Important to Everyone
Have you ever felt nervous every time you were asked to present a certain topic in front of a group of people? Do you remember your hands feeling cold, your legs shaking and sometimes your voice even trembling? Well, presentations are important to everyone, whether at school, university, when looking for a job, while at a job, when starting a business and when seeking investment or financing. It is one of the essential skills in any career whether you are an academic, a doctor or a business person. Therefore, improving your presentation skills is vital to be able to convey your message to others with full confidence and clarity.
Presentation skills are vital to everyone for the following 5 reasons:
Individual and Business Success: The first ‘real’ presentation an individual normally goes through is a Job Interview. How well you present yourself doesn’t guarantee success but certainly improves your chances of success. Also, career growth, promotion, and business progress all depend on good presentation skills.
Time Management: Great presenters use the most effective techniques to communicate their message across in less time focusing on the key elements.
Leadership: Great leaders are known for their effective ways of expressing their inspiring thoughts to their team, community and sometimes even to the public.
Public Image: You will be judged according to how you deliver your message. By conveying your topic clearly, you set a good image not only of yourself but also on behalf of your team or organization.
Stress Reduction: Miscommunication is the biggest cause of work-related stress. Good presenters reduce miscommunication in their environment.
As explained, presentation skills are important for a number of reasons so, start working on improving them. Becoming a better presenter is becoming a better communicator and thus, becoming a more successful individual!
Key Elements You Should Consider while Preparing Your Presentation
Preparation before a presentation is essential and can help you keep your presentation focused, well structured and interesting. In this video, you will learn the 6 key elements that you need to keep in mind while preparing for your presentation; keeping you perfectly ready at all times before presenting your topic.
The following are the 6 key elements you are suggested to consider in order to keep your presentation clear and focused:
The Objective: You should keep in mind the purpose of your presentation at all times. The reason for your presentation and the outcomes expected by your audience are very important.
The Subject: This is the topic, in other words, what you are going to talk about. The subject comes from the objective but it is not necessarily the same thing.
The Audience: You should know the size of your audience, their age range, gender and also whether they know anything about the topic you are addressing or is it something totally new to them. This really affects the way your topic must be presented.
The Place: You should know, in advance, the place where your presentation will take place. The size of the room, the seating arrangements and the availability of equipment are three vital elements that can affect your presentation.
The Time of Day: If you can choose the time slot for your presentation, then go for the morning slot. People are more alert than in the later times of the day.
The Length of Talk: Keep your presentation short and straight to the point to avoid losing the concentration of your audience. If other speakers are going to present after you, make sure you don’t over speak and take their allocated time.
Preparing beforehand can really improve your presentation skills building up your confidence with time. Always remember that even the best presenters in the world take time to prepare what they have to say in advance!
Pillars of a Great Presentation
Presenting is not just speaking in front of an audience. For example, if your audience gets bored and stops listening or if your information presented in not well structured thus, confusing your listeners then you have failed to pass on your message. A great presentation is needed to be able to successfully share your thoughts and have a great impact on your audience.
The following are 4 pillars of a great presentation:
Voice and Body Language: Your voice tone and pace, posture, gesture, and movement all play an important role in a great presentation. For example, having a positive and energetic tone can really grasp your listeners’ attention.
Audience Engagement: Connecting and interacting with the audience through your presentation can keep them alert thus, securing their attention.
Confidence: The more confident you are while presenting your topic the more your listeners’ believe in what you say. You will have the power to control their thoughts and when your presentation is over, you will leave a great impact behind.
Clear Content and Structure: It is very important that you present your topic in a clear and organized manner so as not to confuse your audience. Visual Aids, such as PowerPoint, make it easier and faster for your listeners to grasp the message.
Remember concentration span of an individual is limited so you are advised to make your message clear and straight to the point. Always keep in mind the above 4 important pillars before, during and after presenting in order to WOW your way to having the perfect presentation!
Ways to Improve your Presentation Skills
Presenting or passing a thought to others is not as easy as it may seem. You need to work hard to learn how to convey your message so that your listener has fully understood and hopefully has got convinced in what you had to say.
The following are 6 ways to improve your presentation skills to the better:
Keep rehearsing: your presentation over and over until you feel you are doing it right. Practice makes perfect! Writing it down makes it easier to remember what to say and in what order.
Listening to your past recordings: helps you avoid repeating bad habits.
Attending other presentations: before yours, helps you get some context that might benefit you while presenting. Also try to understand the mood of the crowd to learn how you should talk to them.
Arriving early: avoids bad nervous feelings of possibly getting stuck in traffic. It helps you settle down before presenting.
Spending time adapting to your presentation space before you start presenting: makes you more comfortable. You can get yourself familiar with the equipment you will be using like the microphone for example.
Transforming your nervous energy to enthusiasm: helps your speech feel more energetic and positive to listen to, leaving a great impact on your audience.
The 6 ways we discussed are suggested to help you improve your presenting skills to the better. So start practicing!
Common Mistakes You Should Avoid When Presenting
Have you ever felt that you gave a wrong impression just by mistakenly saying the wrong thing? It may be unfair but people mainly judge others by what they have to say. When nervousness kicks in, things get worse and you may not know why certain words are coming out of your mouth. Also, how you say things can really affect the way people perceive you.
The following are 6 things to avoid when presenting your topic:
Holding your breath: Being nervous tightens your muscles and thus, you are unable to take deep breaths which makes it harder for you to relax.
Worrying facial expressions: Always remember to smile to show your audience that you are calm and confident about what you are saying.
Negative Visualization: Instead of visualizing yourself throwing a bad presentation, picture your presentation full of laughs and enthusiasm.
Talking too fast: Work on your pauses so that you don’t end up running out of breath leading to more panic!
Covering too much material: Your presentation should be useful, short and straight to the point. Presenting too much information in a short period of time will make your audience confused, losing focus on your topic.
Admitting you know everything: Everyone knows that nobody has all the answers about a given topic, admitting so will improve your credibility with the audience.
It is natural to feel nervous before your presentation, but we advise you to take your time to relax so as to avoid the 6 common mistakes many presenters do. Relaxation is the main key to a great presentation making it a one of a kind experience for both you and your loving audience!
Always keep in mind the above 4 important pillars before, during and after presenting in order to WOW your way to having the perfect presentation!
Not to mention, a perfect presentation always deliveries and powerful ending. Here are a few examples of how you can end your presentation with a bang.