Improve Your Presentation Skills: Tips from Professional Writers
Learn how to deliver better presentations
Do your legs shake and hands get wet at a single thought of giving a presentation? Or maybe, you can cope with anxiety but struggle to hold the attention of your audience and keep them interested? One way or another, giving professional presentations is an important component of your professional success. Whether it’s a sales pitch to a client, reporting the progress during a meeting or teaching a skill, strong presentation skills will help you achieve your goal faster.
What to do if you are scared of speaking up in front of the large crowd? How to manage the audience’s attention even if you have never delivered presentations before? Today’s guide from the local resume writing services will give you answers to these and more questions.
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10 tips to improve your presentation skills
- Research your audience
Knowing your audience is essential if you want to be heard and understood. As you polish your presentation, research who you’ll be speaking to and adjust your tone of voice, word choice and delivery depending on the audience. Obviously, you’ll need a different approach for a speech in front of college graduates and middle-age eCommerce professionals. You might also want to find something common with the audience and mention that in a presentation to build common ground and encourage them to pay attention.
- Find your own routine for coping with anxiety
There is a variety of methods to cope with nervousness, as well as the ways to calm nerves before interview. The trick is in finding the ways that work for you. Some benefit from power posing – a method that assumes taking a confident posture and staying in that pose for 1-2 minutes. The others opt for deep breathing and visualization of success right before the presentation. Or maybe, you’ll find it helpful to work on your mental state and use affirmations. Try all the methods you know to understand what helps you relax and feel confident.
- Practice it multiple times
To deliver the presentation effectively, knowing ins and outs of it is a must. Make sure you are familiar with what each slide says and have a detailed plan of what you’re going to say. Rehearse your speech multiple times in front of the mirror, friends, or family so that you’re comfortable speaking about your subject. You might also want to record your speech and work on the aspects of delivery you’re not happy with. Practicing your speech helps reduce nervousness, gives you confidence and helps the presentation run smoothly.
- Give your presentation a structure
Regardless of whether you speak in front of the group of co-workers or to a large crowd, your speech should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. The experts recommend that you start with a question, a curious statistic or a joke to evoke an emotional connection. Be sure to reiterate the main points in all parts of your speech. As people have short attention spans, you need to repeat the key things several times so that they get remembered. End by reiterating the key things, giving a positive forecast or a call to action.
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- Adjust to your environment
If you’re giving a presentation in an unknown location, arrive early so you could adapt to a new environment. Walk around the presentation space, practice various poses and speak from different places on the stage. Familiarizing yourself with the place will help you relax and feel more confident. If possible, speak to a few people from the audience before the presentation. This will give you an idea of the expectations of the audience or inspire for a creative opening statement.
- Don’t memorize the entire speech
Prepare a written text of your presentation to make sure you’ve covered every aspect of the subject as you planned. However, avoid memorizing the speech by heart. It will make you sound robotic and won’t allow any flexibility which is important for a successful presentation. moreover, being overly rehearsed won’t help you build an emotional connection and makes you unapproachable. So, simply rely on the written plan and speak your mind. Be authentic – that’s what will help you get liked by any audience.
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- Keep the audience engaged
If the speech is long and boring, people naturally start getting distracted. To prevent this, use simple tricks to keep your listeners engaged. Ask questions that assume simple answers, do a quick survey, or encourage asking questions at the end of your speech. It will help attendees feel like they participate in a conversation. Don’t be afraid that you won’t have an answer to a particular question. Admitting it will help you look more human and won’t prevent you from the goal of delivering an effective presentation.
- Avoid filler words and negatives
Using strong language will help you deliver the speech more effectively. Thus, you need to polish your language to make a good impression. Avoid filler words such as erm, uh, well. If you don’t feel comfortable making pauses, have a glass of water next to you and take a sip every time you need a short break. Similarly, stay away from negative forms. Instead of telling your listeners not to do something, recommend them what to do instead. Finally, don’t use weak language. Words like just, I believe, I think or adding taglines undermine your expertise and confidence.
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- Maintain an eye contact
As you make eye contact with people listening to your presentation, you look more approachable and respectful. Staring on your own shoes or computer screen, on the contrary, prevents you from making a connection with the audience. Moreover, as you focus the attention on the listeners, you can see if they are interested and be flexible in your speech accordingly. For instance, if you see that one statement you’ve made sparked their eyes, you might want to expand it a bit.
- Give your audience tangible takeaways
As we’ve mentioned before, the closing of your presentation should reiterate the main points you’ve made and summarize them. But it will be even better if you manage to give practical tips and takeaways that your audience can implement today. Whether you give an educational speech or an inspiring one, think of the practical advice that people can benefit from, and share it at the end of the presentation. Not only it will motivate people for action, but also it will give them a sense that your presentation is really useful.
If you’ve never given presentations before, look for inspiration in presentations of other people. Attend live presentation and follow the way that the presenter speaks, works with the audience and uses gestures. Watch online presentations, for instance, TED Talks – it will allow you to learn from the best presenters.
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