When you present something in front of an audience, what you say matters as much as how you say it. In fact, sometimes the latter is more influential than the former. The one common trait among influential people around the world is that they all are good orators. They can’t only speak well but convince their listeners to become their followers. Be it a gathering among friends where you want to portray an intellectual persona or be it a seminar to a hundred strong room, here are some presentation skills that will help you in public speaking.
1. Keep Your Presentation Points Simple
In a good presentation, the audience is glued to what the presenter has to say. They look at the presentation screen only as a reference to the point being made. Once you write your presentation points, rewrite them twice asking yourself how you can simplify further. Also, every presentation has a few high points – things that can surprise or shock your audience awake into listening. Give a second look at your presentation to ensure that you have at least three such high points.
2. Dress to Kill
Before you say a word, your audience would have already decided on how much they want to listen to you. Some presenters can pull off a shabby-chic look, but for others, a lot depends on how confident they feel in their shoes. Your presentation attire should be subtle, but strong conveying a sense of style without overwhelming with too many accessories. Don’t buy a dress off the rack to wear on D-day. Same goes for your shoes. Try and test both out for a couple of days.
3. Practice Your Presentation Skills
This just can’t be emphasized enough. Prepare for your presentation at least a week in advance. You should have your entire content, related notes and explanations ready to play in your head. Practice in front of the mirror to see your facial expressions and body language. Are you moving your hands too much or is your pitch screechy when you’re anxious? You may need your business negotiation skills, if you have a person with full subject knowledge in the audience asking you questions.
4. Know Your Audience
In most cases you will have a knowledge about your target audience. Amp up your communication skills to match their mindsets. Try to gauge their demographic, psychographic and attitude in advance to structure your presentation accordingly. Don’t take a knife to a gunfight. Use your business negotiation skills to answer any questions your audience may have and think of ways to cleverly deflect anything you need time to think about. Knowing your audience’s preferences can help you to keep out topics that may not go down well with them.
5. Get Comfortable
Use your communication skills to simplify your presentation’s complicated language. Visit the venue in advance, if possible, to see the stage set up. Get to the venue before time to set up your laptop and check the sound. Most importantly, go to washroom before you start. Take a couple of minutes to be by yourself to gather your thoughts and calm down your mind. Be confident in you presentation skills. You have worked long and hard for this moment. So, believe that things will work out.
Add a punch to create a strong conclusion that can drive a standing ovation. You can be sure that your presentation skills and practice will come handy in all walks of life.