Some of us were born with the natural confidence and eloquence that make presentations a breeze. The vast majority of us however are not so lucky. According to statistics, 74% of people have a fear of public speaking or Glossophobia. If you’re one of them, here are some pointers on giving a killer presentation.
A good intro will set the tone for the rest of your presentation so invest time in preparing your opening. If you’re smiley and enthusiastic from the onset your audience will be more responsive. Just don’t overdo it – there’s a thin line between enthusiastic and manic.
Use visual aids
Some visuals or stats can really help illustrate your point and place emphasis on the important parts of your presentation. Don’t rely too heavily on them though or you’ll dilute their impact.
Don’t try to cover too much
You want your presentation to be extensive but not excessive. Racing through a mountain of material will leave your audience overwhelmed, particularly if the topic is complex.
Keep it simple
Using overly complicated language or jargon will alienate your audience – or put them to sleep! Using a conversational tone will keep your audience engaged in what you’re saying. Similarly, don’t overload your presentation with too many slides or people will begin to tune out.
If nerves are getting the better of you and you find yourself stumbling over words or lost entirely, try not to panic. Take a deep breath to refocus your mind and remember that your audience will more than likely be sympathetic to your cause. Laura Harmon, former USI President and Equality Campaigner says presentation and public speaking skills can be learned but you have to challenge yourself.
“As a natural introvert, the last thing I ever imagined myself doing was public speaking but if I hadn’t pushed myself out of my comfort zone and conquered my fear then I wouldn’t have been able to go after many of the things I am passionate about.”
Engage your audience
People want to feel involved in the conversation, so involve them! Asking for their opinions can maintain their interest and get them more invested in the topic. Don’t fear a Q&A, admitting you don’t have all the answers can actually make you more credible.
Run through your presentation, in front of the mirror if possible. This will help you identify any areas that need to be improved and also build your confidence as you’ll feel better prepared.
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