In your Communication Class during your undergraduate degree or high school, the syllabus almost always had a subtopic named as, "Presentation Skills." While you had to take this course, one would naturally question at that point as to why it was something that basic being taught as a course? And this informative piece will try to answer that question, all the while guiding you on how to be good at giving a presentation!
Why Are Presentation Skills Important?
Excellent presentation skills are often underrated in terms of their importance as a life skill in the working world. Practical communication skills are core to being able to pave your way towards the career trajectory of your dreams. Having excellent presentation skills is a holistic skill that, in actuality, involves being well versed in many other interpersonal skills.
For instance, If your speaking skills are rusty, especially in the language that you are supposed to present in, it will reflect poorly on the audience. You can be someone who knows the content being displayed in and out, but because of your poor speaking skills, your presentation will suffer. Thus by polishing your presentation skills, you are working to improve all the language areas thoroughly and building upon your ability to be a public speaker!
If you master the skill of speaking, you are almost halfway through to having impeccable presentation skills. If you have the keys to effective communication and confidence up your alley, your stress and anxiety levels will be lower - helping you ace that presentation.
How Can You Improve Your Presentation Skills?
By following this simple list of tips and tricks, you will be able to get through any presentation smoothly and be ready to leave a good impression on the audience!
Maximum Trial Runs
Yes, trial runs will help you improve. Often in primary school, we were told that the key to achieving perfection in anything required an insane amount of practice, and that applies here as well! You would want to practice how you will be presenting your content, but the key here is to do it enough so that you are entirely familiar with the work you will be talking about.
One of the most common mistakes that you can make as a presenter is not familiarizing themselves with the work and then fumbling mid-presentation trying to make sense of what they are saying. It is also advised to practice at different places and by practicing it while sitting and standing both. Mixing up your position of delivery will help you ease into the presentation itself. You can also seek help from a friend or colleague and ask them to see you giving the mock presentation and have them identify your areas of improvement!
Channelize the Nervousness into Enthusiasm and Confidence
Everyone and anyone who is about to step up and talk to an audience is nervous; the degree of nervousness may vary, but they are nervous nonetheless. You may drink an energy drink or use some pop music before getting down to business! It has been seen that great speeches, the one which has an aura of excitement and ability to pique the interest of the audience, tend to be somewhat successful and create a long-lasting positive impression!
Watch and Learn from Your Peers
Often observing people give presentations is also a great way to identify what is it that seems to appeal to you. You can then use those tactics and ideas in your presentation. Hearing ourselves talk is supposed to feel correct, and this leaves us with negligible room to pick out our mistakes or flaws. However, observing people present lets us see what works as a spectator - and can help us practice that in real life!
This may seem less like a vague suggestion to you, but it's one of the ways actually to be successful in your presentations! Smiling through the presentation will let the audience know that you are confident with what you are saying; moreover, you smiling will often make the audience feel more comfortable, and isn't that one of the things that a presentation aims to achieve? Thus, smile and be more effective in engaging the audiences!
Work on the Pauses
Again, it is crucial to keep your nerves under control during a presentation. If you are confused or dubious about your work, it will reflect in your tonality. To make a great presenter requires someone who can use the inflection in their voice to their advantage. You need to be able to control your breath and make sure your words are pronounced. A mispronunciation or running through your words would make you lose the meaning you are trying to convey!
Limit the Bullet Points
An excellent presentation would never have the slides filled with bullet points or bombarded with excessive information. Steve Jobs, who is considered to be celebrated with presentations - people used to live to stream his launches - rarely used information filled slides but put on a show with the use of pictures and minimal text.
This doesn't just work well with the audience but works to your advantage too! Having pictures or critical words being displayed gives you room to improvise during the presentation if the delivery content and style is working well in terms of engaging the audience.
Bring Something Unique to Your Presentation
All presentations are the same and thus very often forgettable. Your presentation must have something unique to it. Mentalist, Harry Lucas, during his interview, revealed that to engage with the audience and be able to read minds, he studies their body language and gets their attention towards himself. During his Ted Talk, he used his trick to his advantage, and had the audience on their toes by asking them questions as essential as their birthdays and answering them correctly - without having known these people from before!
To conclude, we would like to highlight the two main takeaways of this piece; you need to know your material, and you need to rehearse enough beforehand to be able to do well in a presentation! All the other tricks and tips will work if you have mastered the above-mentioned takeaways! So practice, revise, and practice again until you achieve perfection in giving an excellent presentation!