Whether you are pitching to a client or presenting ideas to your team, presentations are a critical component of personal and professional success. Ironically, the number one fear for many is public speaking. Not heights, not clowns, not darkness, but speaking in front of people. In fact, Jerry Seinfeld once was quoted saying, “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two! Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” To help you overcome your potential fear of speaking in public, we have a few presentation tips to help you:
Present Your Passion
The first of our presentation tips is easy… If you are in the position to be able to pick what you are speaking on, why not make it something you love? Many say they’re not confident enough to get up in front of a group and give presentations, so forget about confidence and focus on passion. Sure, confidence can impress, but if there is no excitement or enthusiasm, the audience won’t be interested in your knowledge or experience. Enthusiasm, however, is contagious and your audience won’t be able to look away or lose focus. Your passion will also become their passion.
Prepare Your Presentation
The best presentation is the one that had a lot of time and thought put into it. Never procrastinate until the last minute because it will show and you could lose your credibility. If you didn’t take the time on your presentation, why should someone listen/use your service/buy your product(s)? Make sure you are well prepared, your designs are made with time and effort, and your presentation is audience-ready. Practice in a mirror or to friends and family. Record yourself giving it as you would to the audience. It will help you be more aware and comfortable with what you are presenting. Also, it will help you make sure your timing fits within your allocated time.
Practice Makes Perfect
The next of our presentation tips is simple: know your work inside and out. If you don’t feel confident with certain aspects of your presentation, then go back over it until you do. Knowing every little detail of your presentation will help create a clear delivery because you’ll know precisely what needs to be said and what does not. You will be able to read your audience and understand what parts to focus on or not. Also, the more familiarized you are with your information, the better your delivery and confidence will be.
The best presentations are the ones that engage your audience by implementing the aforementioned enthusiasm and also involving them at times. Have your presentation be interactive, by not only including your audience mentally but physically as well. Get your audience to stand up or repeat things with you. Doing so will keep them awake and listening. Also, be sure to continually make eye contact with people seated in all parts of the room. Ongoing eye contact will show your audience that you are also engaged and want to connect with them on all levels. Don’t be afraid to come out from behind the podium or desk and walk around the room. Interact with the audience and bring them directly into the presentation. Speak to the audience and let them respond to you. Sit down next to someone when asking them a question if applicable. Try not to ask rhetorical questions so people have to answer.
Speak, Don’t Just Read
Nobody wants to see a speaker bury their face in a script, read in a monotone voice from a piece of paper, or turn their back to the audience and read from the slideshow. Not only is that rude, but it makes it hard for your audience to engage with what you are saying. Moreover, if you are giving a presentation, chances are you want to get your message across as clearly as possible, right? Try to talk from small notes, if you need them, and only look at them sporadically. Please don’t read them like a book because this isn’t a bedtime story. You don’t need to hit every single word as long as you are confident and get the point across in an enthusiastic manner. Try to appear relaxed and engaged at all times. Remember to breathe, and you will be fine! For more tips on communication, check out our article, The Art of Communication.
Do you know the saying, “First impressions are important”? That is true when giving a presentation. You want to win over your audience in every way possible, so dress the part. You may have incredible content and perfectly executed slides, but if you are wearing pants with holes, dirty shoes, and a wrinkled outfit, chances are you will be remembered more for your appearance than your presentation. You’re selling your presentation, and that includes selling yourself as credible, trustworthy, and respectable. Give your audience quality material with quality delivery. If you look the part, the rest will fall into place.
Here Come The Questions
Be prepared for some tough questions. There are almost always a few questions that you can’t prepare for. However, as much as you can try to anticipate the tough questions ahead of time. Practice your presentations in front of as many people as you can and tell them to ask you hard questions. The best people are the ones who have little knowledge about the subject because they will be able to ask the tough questions and go into it with no expectations.
In business, presentations are something we must all endure at one point or another. You may never become completely confident and relaxed giving presentations, but at least now you have a few tips to get you through till the next one. Let us know if these presentation tips and suggestions help with your next presentation! Check us out on Facebook and LinkedIn!
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