Presentation occurs in many forms: a job interview, sales pitch, team meetings and even a negotiation for a pay raise is a presentation. As long as you are attempting to inform, convince or build rapport with someone, you are essentially making a presentation.
Since presentations are a frequent occurrence at the workplace, you will need to develop effective presentation skills. Fortunately, this is a learnt skill, which means that even the worst presenter can improve with enough practice.
Here are our 10 tips to help you become a better presenter:
1) Identify the desired outcome - Establishing the purpose of your presentation is important, as it will serve as a guide to developing the content of your presentation. Include only the information that will get you closer to your desired outcome. and eliminate any information that will not. This will make your presentation more powerful ensuring that you only talk about the things that matter. At the same time, when you keep your presentation concise and to the point, you will not lose your audience. For every point that you raise in your presentation, remember to ask yourself whether it is necessary.
2) Identify your audience - The key is to know the concerns of your audience. What are the questions they have, that need to be addressed in your presentation? When you pre-empt your audience’s questions and answer them convincingly, it makes your presentation more impactful and more likely to be well received.
3) Do not memorise - This may come as a surprise to most, but it is dangerous to memorise your speech. A sharp audience will be able to tell immediately if you have memorised your presentation. A memorised delivery is usually less engaging as the speaker will be too focused on trying to recall each sentence. Furthermore, when you forget your speech while presenting, you will find yourself stuck and it may take a long time for you to recover. Instead, jot down the key points that you want to address in your presentation. Our suggestion is not to write a script word-for-word.
4) Rehearse - Do not confuse rehearsing as memorising. Once you have jotted down the key points of your presentation, start talking about each point out-loud. Do not stop if you make a mistake; the worst thing to do is to start from the top until you perfect it. If you attempt to say the exact same thing each time you rehearse, then it is essentially the same as memorising. Delivering a presentation is like driving home. You may be familiar with the road, but sometimes you will make a wrong turn. When this happens, do you go all the way back to where you started? No, you don’t. You continue driving until you find yourself back on track. By the same logic, when you rehearse your presentation, aim to familiarise yourself with your speech but not to memorise it. When you make an error, continue talking until your point is made. This also ensures that you are well prepared if you make a mistake in the actual presentation.
5) Repeat - Repetition is a powerful tool for presentations that need to be persuasive. Emphasising a phrase or a point again and again makes your presentation memorable. However, this needs to be used skillfully. Use it in your speech only if it will give that added impact. Once again, go back to tip number #1 and ensure that this is suitable for the purpose of your presentation.
6) Start with a story - The start of you presentation is very crucial. It is important to create that “hook” that can draw the attention of your audience. One way to do so is to start off with a story. Of course, it must be a story that is relevant to the topic of your presentation. Make sure you link the story well with the rest of your presentation.
7) End with a call to action - You started the presentation with a bang and you delivered the rest of the presentation confidently. Now, make sure that you do not fall flat in the closing of your presentation. The end of the presentation is the best time to make a final call to action. Go back to tip #1 and ask yourself what you want your audience to do after listening to your presentation. Conclude your presentation with a call to that desired outcome. Make sure it is direct, impactful and compelling.
8) Get a second opinion - Sometimes, it can be difficult to assess our own presentation. This is where a second opinion comes in. Present to a friend or colleague and ask them to tell you what to improve on. It could be a suggestion for your speech, your posture or your tone. If you tend to use fillers, make sure you get them to point it out each time you use them.
9) Power Dressing - Not just for women, but for the men too! Power dressing is dressing in a way that would give you that confidence boost. For most ladies, wearing a pair of heels can easily do the trick. For men, wearing a well-fitted and sharp suit can give that extra confidence. This is necessary because confidence is important for presentations. So, dress in a way that can help you feel more confident on the day of your presentation.
10) Believe in what you say - When you exhibit belief and passion in the way you present, your audience buys into your presentation. This is because when you present something that you believe in, you will naturally sound convincing. If you do not believe in you what you are presenting, your audience will not either.
Cegos Asia Pacific offers courses to help you create and deliver powerful presentation.
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