Must Have Tips for a Great Presentation
Regardless of the nature of our business or the type of clients which we deal with, the chances are that sooner or later we’ll need to give a presentation. Whether we’re convincing a potential customer that our company is right for them, or pitching a new idea to executive board members, presentations can be one of the most important, but also nerve-wracking experiences of our careers.
Some mild nervousness is completely normal, it simply shows that we want things to go well. However, over worrying can leave us feeling run-down, and even impact our performance. For this reason, here at Nelson Training we’ve put together a series of tips to help you overcome your nerves and nail how to deliver a presentation.
We all know the mantra, fail to prepare and prepare to fail. This is especially the case for presentations. Practice your presentation at home, in the car, to your pets, or anywhere else that people will listen. You can experiment with different words or tones of voice, while drilling the information firmly into your memory.
If you’re using cue cards, make sure your notes are sparse and easily readable. You could use bulleted keywords to ensure that your presentation runs from one point to the next in a smooth fashion. However, never use a visual aid like PowerPoint to do this. The biggest audience turn-off is a set of bullets and someone telling them the same thing!
Public speaking can make many of us self-conscious, which is easily mirrored in our non-verbal communication. An easy way to overcome this problem is to smile. You’ll begin to feel more confident, and the returned smiles of your audience will also put you at ease.
When you’re standing on stage, you should use open body language. Stand straight instead of slouching, and keep an eye on your hands. Hands can be extremely expressive of nervousness or discomfort, so keep them unclenched and out of your pockets, even if you don’t often gesticulate while speaking.
Engage your audience
Make eye contact. This can be difficult if you’re feeling nervous, but it will inspire confidence in both you and your message. If you can’t see your audience, then look in their direction anyway, and don’t forget the corners.
Another side-effect of nervousness can be rushed speech. Again, this can prevent your audience from engaging with your actual message. Speak slowly, concentrating on exactly what you’re saying. You can also pause, giving you the chance to take a deep breath and your audience time to think about what you’ve said.
Stay positive and don’t panic
Constantly visualise your presentation going well. This will boost your confidence, and prevent the self-fulfilling prophecy which can often come with too much negativity.
Before and during your presentation, keep an eye on your breathing. Quicker, shallower breaths are common when we’re nervous, but they can also have a negative physiological impact on us. Similarly to how many individuals overcome a panic attack, you should concentrate on taking slower, deeper breaths, and allow a sense of calm to come over you.
You may need professional public speaking training
Unfortunately, some of us are born as great public speakers, while some of us struggle greatly. If you’ve tried all of the above but remain uncomfortable giving presentations, then you may consider taking a public speaking training programme. The programme should be tailored to your specific needs, and should help you with every aspect of the planning and delivery of your presentation. From overcoming anxiety to selecting the right style of Powerpoint presentation, giving you the tools to produce a presentation which will engage both board members and customers alike.