That often dreaded moment always arrives for professionals: Presentation time. Successful public speaking requires a lot of time and practice. Here are the top 5 tips for you to master the art:
1. Structure & Preparation
Being organised is essential to convey your message effectively. Deciding on a presentation structure is a good start, it could be chronological, topical, problem and solution, or cause and effect. This depends largely on the context of your presentation, so you must analyse the subject to find which model is more suitable for it.
You can also use the PowerPoint Notes, – or the traditional method of note cards – with clearly written, concise points to remind what you want to say and in what order. They should only be reminders, reading word-for-word makes it robotic and difficult to relate to.
Make sure you don’t overload slides with a lot of text. Long paragraphs of text are a turn-off to audiences. Remember, the primary purpose of a presentation is to get your audience to understand your message more fully, not to read chunks of never-ending texts. Aim for concise sentences in bullet points.
Figures are another tricky aspect of presentations, they are not aesthetically appealing and can cause confusion when overused. Thus, it’s good practice to steer clear from using too many numbers. You should also try to round numbers up to the nearest whole number when possible.
3. Audience Engagement
Depending on the context and duration of your presentation, you may want to consider including questions for your audience. This is highly recommended as it encourages engagement. Make the questions short, straight-forward and interesting, and they will certainly serve to make the presentation more memorable.
4. Strike a Pose
Great speakers constantly watch themselves and ensure their body language communicates the right message. They make strong eye contact, never turn their backs to the audience or cross their arms. Watch the body language of powerful speakers, – such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Winston Churchill – and try to implement some of their gestures in your presentation when appropriate. Each member of your audience should think you are speaking to them directly.
5. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
We are all incredibly visual creatures. Images are attractive and they add another dimension to speeches.
Props are also great devices as they can help make your argument more concrete. They add the element of innovation: Most presentations consist only of texts and images, thus by introducing props you immediately catch your audience’s attention with something unusual.
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