Public speaking and presentations, for some, comes naturally, but for the rest of us, presenting to a group brings up all types of anxiety and insecurities. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be part of your everyday job so there is no other option but to tackle this fear and learn to deliver an impressive speech. Here are our 5 tips for a successful presentation.
1. Prepare Ahead of Time
- Before you get started, make an outline of your presentation. What is the goal? What is the main message that needs to resonate with your audience? Once you’ve answered these questions you can begin “constructing” your presentation in the most effective way to reach your purpose.
- Grab your audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds. Start your presentation with a powerful opening like a quote, statistic, or anecdote.
- As they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words. Add visuals to help enhance or clarify your content.
- Keep content per slide to a minimal so people can easily digest everything being presented.
2. Know Your Audience
- Before you create your presentation keep in mind who your audience will be. This will help determine the right background, language, tone, amount of humor, etc. that will work best for your audience.
3. Practice and Rehearse
- Practice giving your presentation in front of a mirror, to a group of friends or even record it. This will help you understand what areas you need to improve. Once modified; practice again (and again)!
- Write an outline to keep you on track. DO NOT read your presentation word for word. If you are looking down and reading from your notes you are not engaging with your audience and most likely your audience isn’t engaging with you.
- Speak slowly, clearly, and confidently. Keep a steady talking pace, avoid filler words, remember to pause, and avoid a monotonous talking voice.
- Be aware of your body language. Face your audience, make eye contact, avoid crossing your arms, putting your hands in your pockets, and don’t fiddle or pace.
- Don’t be rigid or hide behind a podium. Move around freely and connect with your audience.
4. Dress Appropriately
- Take the environment and setting for your presentation into consideration when picking out your outfit. As a rule of thumb, always dress better than your audience. For example, if your audience will be dressed in casual attire, then you should dress business casual.
- Your attire should be well-tailored, clean, comfortable and appropriate. You want your audience paying attention to what you have to say and not distracted by what you are wearing.
- If sweating might be an issue, then stick to fabrics that don’t stain. Also, consider wearing a second layer like a blazer or cardigan.
- Are there stairs? How long will your presentation take? Will you be doing a lot of moving around? These are all great questions to keep in mind when choosing your shoes. Make sure that you can walk easily in whatever you wear. Low heels, wedges or flats are probably your best bet.
5. Know the Setting
- Know where your presentation will take place and what the setup of the room is.
- Arrive early so you have time to troubleshoot the technology setup. There is nothing worse than beginning a presentation trying to figure out how to project your laptop!
What tips do you have for a successful presentation? Leave a comment and let us know!
By: Percy Jimenez-Nagy