How to Improve Your Presentation Skills – 10 Tips for Most Important Skills
10th April 2013 by Sean Malone
Whether you’re presenting to a camera crew or your laptop webcam, a small seminar or a packed auditorium, great presentation skills are the most important way of engaging, convincing and inspiring your audience.
Luckily, there are a number of tips that you can use do to boost your confidence and improve your presentation skills!
So, here are my top ten most important tips that will help you improve your presentation skills:
Tip 1. Begin by researching your audience
The presentation is not about you, it’s about the audience. Research your audience, find out as much as you can about them; about their interests, their needs and their expectations. What do they need from you?
Tip 2. Why should your audience listen to you?
Decide on the big audience benefit; why should your audience listen to you? Include a big audience benefit at the start of your presentation: “I’m going to give you six tips, guaranteed to make you a more confident public speaker.”
Tip 3. Prepare any visual aids, like a PowerPoint Presentation
If you are using PowerPoint slides in your presentation, then add plenty of powerful pictures, with the minimum amount of text on each slide. Consider embedding a video as your first slide. Adding a video will help grab the attention of the audience and set the scene for what is to follow. Note: Choose a video which is short in length. Plug some speakers into your laptop to amplify the sound.
Tip 4. Rehearse your presentation and time it
Nothing, absolutely nothing will improve your performance more than rehearsing it. Ballet dancers, professional singers and athletes achieve a high level of performance by preparing and rehearsing. If you are not prepared to rehearse, then prepare to fail. Stand in front of a mirror (with your PowerPoint slides on your laptop) and then rehearse, and time, your presentation. The more you rehearse it, the better your presentation will become.
Tip 5. Memorise the beginning and end
Remember by heart and rehearse (see point above) the beginning and end of your presentation. And trust yourself to remember the rest.
Tip 6. Take control of your voice and body language
You need to project your voice, even if you are using a microphone. Projecting your voice doesn’t mean shouting; instead, pretend that you want to give some instructions to a classroom of children, without frightening them – that’s what projection is. Avoid weaving, or moving about. Stand still. Use your hands and arms to emphasise what you are saying, but don’t move, bend, or wobble your legs.
Tip 7. Manage your nerves
Everybody, including famous celebrities, gets nervous. Nervous energy is good. It’s the pre-curser to action – the pre-curser to making a great presentation.
If you are anxious about your presentation, then sit down with a pencil and paper and plan your presentation. Plan your big audience message, your PowerPoint slides, the length of your presentation, how you aim to travel to the venue etc. Proper planning will banish anxiety.
If you are frightenedof presenting, then minimise your fears by rehearsing again and again in front of your partner, friend, or colleague. The more you do something (climb a high ladder, ride a bicycle in city streets, or present in front of people) the less frightening you will find it.
Tip 8. Dress for success
No matter how informal the gathering, make sure on the morning of your presentation that you dress that little bit smarter than you usually do. Dressing smarter will make you feel (and look) good. Gauge what to wear by what your audience is likely to wear. If your audience are in business suits, then you wear a suit too. The big things that your audience will notice (and which will create a good impression) are your shoes, your hair and the smartness of your clothes.
Tip 9. Be enthusiastic
Enthusiasm cuts through the audience like a hot knife through butter. Enthusiasm is infectious. If you are passionate and enthusiastic about your presentation, then your audience will instantly engage with you; and forget about any errors, blunder, or mistakes – because they like you!
Tip 10. Ask for feedback
Ask a trusted colleague, or friend to watch your presentation and give you constructive feedback. Identify what worked, what didn’t and learn from the experience. Use the feedback to plan your next successful presentation.And remember: good luck is far less reliable than hard work. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
You may also like these posts and pages:- 10 Tips to Become a Better Presenter
- How to Cure Your Fear of Public Speaking - 10 Easy Steps
- How to Improve Public Speaking Skills & Confidence - 10 Tips
- How to Stand Still When Nervous or Anxious - Public Speaking Tips Video
- How to Improve Presentation Skills for Business Videos - 10 Top Tips
- Top 10 Presenting & Public Speaking Tips - How Can We Help You?
- 13 Public Speaking Tips for Delivering a Great Business Presentation
- 10 Habits of the Bad Business Presenter
- The Presentation Training page of our website
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Sean has over 30 years’ experience in video, marketing and live events. He runs regular presenter training workshops and seminars, including the Industry Leader Bootcamp for Microsoft delegates. To find out more about presenter training at VirtualStudio.TV, do contact us today.