Delivering presentations can scare any student. Only a small quantity of people feel comfortable speaking to an audience. In this article, you will find 13 tips on how to improve presentation skills. Read all of them attentively and try to apply them in practice.
1. Prepare a couple of stunning facts.
To create an effective presentation, you should look for captivating facts. Your presentation will be more memorable. People more easily remember things which shocked them. Moreover, people tend to share impressive facts they hear with others. And when they share those facts, they remember other points from your speech through the associations.
2. Don’t start with delivering your topic.
Mice! Someone can say that they are sweet but the reality is that these animals are dangerous. How do you feel now? It seems like you have just had a cold shower, doesn’t it? When you start your presentation from the topic at once, your audience can become bewildered because they were not prepared. It’s better to start your speech from some information which connects you with your listeners. It is not obligatory to tell a joke. You can tell a short story about your way to this place and somehow bind it to the topic. Or, you can make an observation about the atmosphere of the place.
3. Record your presentation.
This tip on how to improve presentation skills is quite obvious, but it works so we can’t help but mention it. When you are rehearsing your presentation, record it. This will help you to find an adequate tempo for your speech and decide how and what points to highlight. Also, you can figure out what junk words you tend to use. This will help you to get rid of them in your speech.
4. Be genuine with the audience.
One of the ways to make an effective presentation is to fill it with references to your experience. If you are telling a story from your experience, you should be honest. The audience can sense when you are trying to deceive them, especially when you are inexperienced at delivering speeches. Also, be brave and confess if you are not aware of some facts. You can’t know everything!
5. Practice delivering different parts of the presentation.
Most students get used to delivering points of their speech in a specific order. It’s torture for them to skip or mix some part of the speech. However, you should be prepared for this. If you are asked a question during a presentation which is related to the next part of the speech, you shouldn’t say “I’ll tell you later.” In this case, you can lose the audience. It’s better to deliver information from the other part of your presentation as soon as you are asked a question about it.
6. Work on pauses.
One of the rules that you should follow to make an effective presentation is to leave enough time for pauses. Pauses can help you to reinforce important information, make your speech well-structured, and give the audience time to digest information. Don’t try to deliver your speech too quickly. You are not participating in a speed of speech contest! Make pauses and give the listeners time to grasp things you are saying.
7. Watch other presentations.
One of the activities that you will have to do in your educational affiliation is delivering speeches on specific topics. As a rule, all students don’t have the ability to perform their speeches during one class. Therefore, some students will do this on one day, others on the other day. We recommend that you watch how other students perform their speeches and make notes on what helps them to succeed, or the contrary.
8. Have a contingency plan.
Something can go wrong and you need to prepare for this. After you’ve completed a presentation, make sure that you are prepared if your presentation won’t open on the screen, if the audience will be different, or that the schemes and pictures you added are not seen from the last rows. To avoid these situations, you need to work on your presentation so that you can deliver it even without visual materials and that it doesn’t contain any form of discriminative claims.
9. Engage the audience.
If you don’t engage the audience for a while, you can lose its attention. Therefore, you should ask questions to your listeners and react if some of them raise a hand. However, we don’t recommend you to be involved in long debates with one person. It’s better to answer questions quickly so that you have enough time to reach the end of your speech.
10. Change places when rehearsing.
Before delivering the presentation in class, you probably need to rehearse it. If you aren’t planning to, you should. As the practice shows, when you get used to performing in a certain place and in a certain pose, you can experience much stress when this place and pose change. For this reason, you should change settings and poses.
11. Create small rituals.
Typically, many students do specific rituals before important academic events. For example, some of them put a book under the pillow, others don’t shave, and still others wear something blue. You should invent a specific ritual for you and follow it. It should be something simple. Why should you do this if you don’t believe it works? Our answer to you is: “Even atheistic people pray in a turbulence zone.”
12. Work on your body language.
You should work you your poses and gestures. Find a big mirror in which you can see yourself on the full height. Practice performing your presentation looking in the mirror. Try to polish your moves so that they work for you.
13. Don’t read your slides.
First of all, you shouldn’t put much information on the slides. There should be only key points. Secondly, you shouldn’t read information from you slides because it looks weird. It seems that you don’t know the topic. You can look on the screen to remember the order of slides but it is not obligatory to deliver information word for word.
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