How To Improve Your Presentation Skills

If you suffer with the fear of public speaking, then you are not alone. The fear of speaking publicly is one of the most common fears amongst the public.

Regardless of whether you are an experienced speaker or not, it is easy to become nervous about presenting.

How To Improve Your Presentation Skills

If you are feeling panicked as soon as you imagine speaking in front of a room of people, then you should utilize our tips in order to combat that anxiety and deliver a wholesome and confident presentation.

1. Understand The Brief

Prior to thinking about how to deliver your presentation, you need to ensure that you know what you are talking about. You will also be required to know which format your presentation will take and whether you will require any printouts etc.

Other key things to know are how many people you will be presenting to, and how long the presentation will last for. You should also prepare for any potentially tricky questions that you may be asked thereafter. 

2. Engage In Research

Doing thorough research is one of the key ways to deliver a great presentation. This is because the best presentations are often delivered by people who fully understand their topics of choice.

If you are focusing your presentation on a news-based topic, then you should read up on any developments that have occurred in order to remain on guard.

If you are providing a presentation as part of an interview process, then you should ensure that you have researched thoroughly into the company itself by looking through their website attentively. 

3. Design It Properly

A crucial aspect of a good presentation is using a good design. This isn’t just about how strong it looks, but also, how it is structured visually. It is recommended that you use a color palette, and use similar colors throughout the slides.

This ensures that your content remains cohesive. You should also try to use visual elements where possible, as using one per slide will ensure that your presentation does not become bland. 

You should also try to use the same font and text color to enhance this overall cohesion. It is crucial to write succinct sentences as less is more during the presentation process.

You shouldn’t use your slides as a script. Instead, use a header and a couple of bullet points or quotes to enhance your overall points and provide you with a launchpad for communicating your ideas. 

Where structure is concerned, presentations may include fan introductory slide that explains what can be expected from the presentation. The last slide should thank people for listening and ask them whether they have any questions. 

4. Practice Your Presentation

Whilst this may be an obvious step, it is surprising how few people will actually practice their presentation prior to delivering it. This will help you to identify any issues that may arise on the day itself.

If the presentation is only required to last ten minutes, then you are not going to know if you have gone over the time limit until you practice your presentation. 

If you are using unfamiliar software that you are inexperienced with, then this will be the best time to practice using this technology. This will help you to grasp how to use the technology and it reduces the overall risk of technical issues inherently. 

5. Write Appropriate Prompts

You can avoid any awkward scenarios that may arise by writing prompts that will enhance your communication.

Irrespective of whether you are presenting over a video call or not, using note cards is a brilliant way to jog your memory and ensure that your presentation remains smooth.

How To Improve Your Presentation Skills (1)

The best way to use note cards is to only write down a select phrase for each slide. This way you will be able to present in an effective manner, engaging with your audience without becoming overwhelmed by the fear of forgetting your line of thought. 

6. Stay Prepared And Arrive Early

Similarly to a job interview, it is always beneficial to arrive early to enable you to set up properly and relax into your surrounding environment.

If you are presenting online, then entering the call earlier will provide you with the opportunity to share your screen and calm yourself prior to starting your presentation. 

7. Find Specific Focus Points To Look At

If you are presenting to a larger number of people, then it may be useful to find specific points across the room to enhance your focus as opposed to directly looking at your audience.

It is recommended that you find three specific points that you can alternate between. 

Eye contact is undoubtedly important when presenting, however, the other points can be the wall at the back of the room to provide you with relief from making eye contact.

Alternating the growth between these specific points will ensure that you emit confidence and retain engagement, as opposed to only looking at one specific point the whole time which will lead people to lose focus. 

8. Take Your Time

Nerves may result in your taking far too quickly which makes your presentation appear rushed, making it harder for listeners to remain engaged.

Prior to staring, you should inhale deeply, this will enhance your focus whilst slowing down your overall heart rate, ensuring that you can speak clearly and project your voice across the room. 

During the presentation itself, you should leave some time to pause for breath, prior to moving onto your next point. This will help people to fully understand what has been previously said.

You should also keep a glass of water by your side to ensure that you can continue to speak clearly and cohesively if your mouth becomes dry from talking for an extensive period of time. 

Conclusion

To conclude, following the key steps that I have outlined above will ensure that you are able to deliver an engaging presentation that will impress your audience whilst bolstering your overall confidence in your delivery. 

Justin Shaw
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