Everyone gives a presentation at some point in their career.
And whether you thrive on the opportunity to showcase your accomplishments or shudder at the thought of speaking in front of a crowd, there’s no denying that professional presentations and strong public speaking skills are important qualities to have.
Although it might seem intimidating, giving a presentation doesn’t have to be scary. Planning ahead, remaining authentic and owning your nerves are some of the best ways to impress clients, coworkers or management during your next presentation.
Continue reading to learn more about how to give the best presentations.
Before a presentation, it is important to know your audience and their knowledge of the subject. This will prevent you from explaining things the audience already knows, or assuming they understand more than they do. Going into too much detail about the background and history of your subject might bore the audience, or you may provide information that goes over their heads.
Simply provide a brief explanation and be prepared to answer questions if needed.
While relevant and interesting content is important to keep the audience engaged, visuals help too. If visuals are used, make sure they are fitting for the presentation. One of the quickest ways to lose the audience’s attention is to show pictures that are too small or slides that are crammed with text.
Create appealing visuals that support the information, instead of simply listing words on a screen.
Practice Makes Perfect
When it comes to practicing, it is important to find a balance between preparedness and authenticity. Instead of memorizing a script or reading off of a screen, try to make the presentation feel conversational. Write down a few main points and practice until you feel comfortable elaborating on each one without a script. This will force you to become well-versed in the subject, therefore more prepared to answer questions.
Audience members will be much more engaged if the presentation feels like a discussion, not a one-way speech.
Own Your Nerves
Nerves can actually work in your favor. According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, nervousness can create engagement because it shows vulnerability, which is a powerful way to win over an audience. They expect you to be nervous, and it often makes you more relatable and authentic. Nerves can also give you an adrenaline rush, which provides energy you can utilize throughout your presentation.
Although you might be nervous, it’s important to still be aware of your stage presence during a presentation. Pause between thoughts, make eye contact with the audience and avoid distracting body movements and gestures.
Remember, take a deep breath and have fun!