Many people find making presentations nerve racking and stressful. All eyes are on you after all. The pressure is on but you need to portray an air of confidence. You need to make an impact. You need to leave a lasting, positive impression with your audience. So how do you do that?
Here are our top 10 tips help you do just that:
- Wear your best suit – It is important to look credible, smart and professional. If you feel good about the way you look, you will feel more confident in general.
- Rehearse out loud (with slides) until you feel comfortable – practising your presentation in your head is very different from the actual delivery when the adrenaline kicks in. Rehearsing out loud helps you:
- get the logical flow right
- increase your confidence levels
- gain a realistic appreciation of timing.
You can rehearse in the shower, in your car or in front of the dog! It doesn’t matter as long as you do it.
- Be prepared and check that the technology works – there is nothing worse than a presenter who rushes in at the last moment with a laptop and then doesn’t know quite how to connect it or the video that they planned to use doesn’t work because the flashplayer is not up to date. Get there early to set up and check your equipment so you can look calm and composed before you begin.
- Wait for silence and smile at your audience before you begin – this will give the impression that you are confident, in control and in no rush to dash through your presentation. This small technique will enhance your impact and credibility.
- Use an impactful opening – eg. anecdote, current affairs, statistic, question etc. which will capture your audiences attention and set the scene for an interesting presentation. There is nothing quite so off-putting as someone who starts their presentation with “This is going to be pretty boring so I’ll do my best to get through it as quickly as possible”
- Maintain eye contact with your audience at all times and distribute it evenly throughout the audience – this shows self confidence and makes the audience feel involved.
- Use well placed pauses – this will add impact and emphasis to key points, particularly if coupled with a slower pace and downward inflection at the end of the point. Pauses allow time for your audience to absorb and consider your points and appreciate the importance they may have.
- Use expressive vocabulary – use positive, descriptive and meaningful words and phrases. Avoid words like maybe, like, you know, very, really, as they can weaken your message. Instead of ‘This is our best product yet” say “This is the most innovative, technologically advanced meticulously designed product we have ever launched”
- Make sure your visual aids are impactful – remember less is more and pictures speak a thousand words. Visual aids are there to enhance your presentation not say everything you’re going to say.
- Finish on a high – make sure you leave your audience in no doubt as to the purpose of your presentation with a comprehensive summary of your key points. To make it look really slick you can refer back to the opening statement. For example if you started with a picture of a storm as an analogy for the topic you’re presenting on, show the picture at the end and making a closing remark about it.
These tips will help you make a winning presentation. For more information about Presentation skills see our website