Presentation skills are a must in almost every field nowadays. Whether you’re a student, an administrator, or a businessman, every one of us is required to deliver information clearly and effectively. Let’s not deny it; all of us are afraid to talk in front of a crowd. In fact, public speaking ranked number one on the list of common phobias. The quote “practice makes perfect” can be really applied with honing one’s presentation skills. Repeated exposure to public speaking may reduce the fear and improve public speaking skills.
Here are some tips that may help first-timers and even the non-first-timers.
- Talk naturally. Go with the flow and say what you want to say to the audience. Avoid reading the script throughout the presentation, use it as a guide instead.
- Stand and walk. Instead of sitting while presenting, stand. Walk sideways if you want to, but never forward or backward, that would make you look like a trapped animal.
- Don’t go monotone. Vary the pitch, tone and volume from time to time. Do this to add emphasis to your main points and maintain the audience’s interest. Also, avoid turning back from your audience.
- Make eye contact. Stare into the eyes of your audience but not for too long. Gain eye contact with several individual members of the audience.
- Use visual aids. Use pictures, graphs, charts or even videos when appropriate. Be careful and don’t overdo it. Their purpose is to illustrate and strengthen your ideas and not to distract the audience.
- Rehearse then check your time. Keep your talk short enough to allow time for any questions from the audience.
- Construct your sequence effectively. Make an introduction; tell the audience the subject of your presentation, then explain each key point, end with a summary of your talk.
- Stay focused. Avoid irrelevant and unnecessary details.
- Channel nervous energy. Be relaxed while staying alert. Don’t have any confidence in yourself? Fake it. It will come around.
- Answer questions honestly and concisely. If you don’t know the answer, then say so. After that, provide further information at a later date.
Now that you know the basics of an effective presentation, go out; speak to your audience confidently. Even though you may find yourself not that amazing at first I’m sure that you will improve with repeated experience and practice.