When we say, ‘presentation skills are imperative’; in reality we mean ‘effective presentation skills are imperative’. The primary aim of presentation is to do better than your fellows. And the secondary aim is to get improved with every presentation that you deliver. Expert presenters can deliver their message across in less time since they respect time and also can deliver their 30-minute presentation in just 5 minutes or within the stipulated time. Additionally they accumulate time while preparing it because they know precisely what exactly they want to say to their audience.
Well, effective presentation skills are significant to present your ideas, projects, plans, strategies and products in front of the audience. So it’s important to have technical and non-technical presentation skills to achieve the end goal. No matter how important or interesting your presentation topic is; it means nothing if you couldn’t present it efficiently to your audience. Here are some things to consider if you want to be a better presenter:
Let your passion for the subject shine
It’s tough to feel relaxed and be yourself when you’re anxious. But be honest with the audience about what is important to you and why it matters. Connecting with your audience is very important and the best way to do that is to let your passion for the subject shine through. So, be enthusiastic and responsive.
Focus on your core message and audiences’ needs
While planning your presentation, you should always keep in mind the question: What is the key message for my audience? And you should be able to communicate that key message very briefly. Some experts recommend a 30-second ‘elevator summary’, something that you can write on the back of a business card, or say it in no more than 15 words. Whichever rule you choose, the vital thing is to keep your core message focused and concise. And if what you are planning to say doesn’t contribute to that core message, don’t say it.As you organize the presentation, you constantly need to have in mind what the audience needs and wants to know. While you’re giving the presentation, you also need to remain focused on your audiences’ response, and react to that. You need to make it comfortable for your audience to read and answer.
Smile and make eye contact
This sounds very comfortable, but surprisingly a large number of presenters fail to exercise it. If you smile and make eye contact, you are building rapport, which helps the audience connect with you and your subject. It also assists you to feel less anxious, because you are talking to the people you know (your friends or colleagues), not to a large lot of strange masses. To help you with this, make sure that you don’t turn down all the lights so that only the slide screen is visible. Your audience needs to see you as well as your slides.
Start strongly and tell stories
The beginning of your presentation is crucial. They will give you a few minutes’ chance, so you need to grab your audience’s attention within that time and keep it. Thus, don’t blow that away on explaining who you are. Start by entertaining them. Human beings are programmed to respond to stories. Stories help us to pay attention, and also to remember things. If you can use stories in your presentation, your audience is more likely to engage and to remember your points afterwards. Thus, it is a good idea to start with a story.
Remember the 10-20-30 rule for slideshows
This is a tip from Guy Kawasaki of Apple; he suggests that slideshows should contain no more than 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes and use a font size of no less than 30 points. The last one is particularly important as it stops you from trying to place too much information on any single slide. As a universal rule, slides should be the sideshow to you, the presenter. A good set of slides should be of no use without the presenter, and they should definitely contain less, rather than more, information, expressed simply. If you need to provide more information, create a handout and distribute it among the audience after your presentation.
Use your voice and body effectively
The spoken word is actually a pretty inefficient means of communication, because it uses only one of your audience’s five senses. That’s why presenters tend to use visual aids, too. But you can make the spoken word better by using your voice effectively. Altering the speed at which you speak, and emphasizing changes in tone help to make your voice more interesting and keep your audience’s attention.
It has been estimated that more than three quarters of communication is non-verbal. It means that your body language is also important. Make sure that you are using the right gestures: avoid cross arms, hands held behind your back or in your pockets. Make your gestures open and confident, and move naturally around the stage and among the audience too, if possible.
Breathe, relax and enjoy
If you find presentation difficult, it can be hard to fell calm and relaxed. One choice is to pop out by contracting on your breathing. Slow it down, and make sure that you’re breathing fully. Make certain that, you continue to pause for breath occasionally during your presentation as well. Once you can get yourself to relax, you will most certainly present yourself better. Remember, when you will actually start to enjoy yourself, your audience will automatically respond to that, and engage better. Your presentation will improve exponentially, and so will your confidence.
Next time you speak before an impressive audience, keep these points in mind and act accordingly. The most important thing is that you must have a good level of self-confidence if you want to impress your audience with a good presentation.