Today, there’s a lot of pressure to give great presentations and be an amazing public speaker. Being able to captivate an audience and effectively convey a message can take you far in life. These are great skills to have, but it’s far from easy. For many people, publication speaking is scarier than dying. Many people struggle to give a good presentation, no matter the size of the audience. Even people who are very comfortable speaking in front of large crowds may not actually have the skills they need to make it a good presentation.
Although being a master presenter takes a lot of time and practice, it’s possible for everyone and there are some surefire ways to achieve it. If you’ve got a big presentation coming up, follow this advice to make it great.
Include Engaging Visuals
What you say and how you say it is incredibly important when giving a presentation, but there’s more that needs to be done. Something equally important when during any presentation are the visuals you use. Even the best public speakers rely on visuals throughout their presentations to help supplement the information being given. Most people are visual learners, so incorporating this throughout your presentation can help ensure that they’ll remember your presentation after it’s over. Keeping an audience engaged is a difficult part of any presentation and visuals can help with this. This can be especially useful for presentations that cover complex topics that might be easier to explain with a chart or illustration. For some, visuals can even help reduce some of the pressure of presenting, as it can momentarily take the attention away from you.
One way to almost guarantee that you give a bad presentation is to wing it. If you want to give a great presentation, you should absolutely be practicing it before the moment comes. Of course, you’ve probably planned out what you’ll be talking about and when, but saying it out loud to an audience is completely different. Delivery is one of the most important parts of a presentation and the only way to get it right is by practicing over and over until you’ve got it just right. You also don’t want it to look like you’re relying on notes to make it through. This can make you seem less confident, disengaged with the audience, and you could end up messing up your speech. If you’ve ever seen a presentation that has captured your full attention, you can be sure that it’s not the presenter’s first time giving it.
Use Body Language
When you’re standing in front of a group, it can be difficult to feel comfortable enough to act like yourself. You might feel tense and that will easily show by how you stand and act during your presentation if you have little movement. In some cases, you might even be stiff on purpose if you think it might make you seem more professional. However, people might have a hard time getting interested in your presentation if you’re completely still the entire time. Anytime we communicate with each other, our body language can be more telling than the words we say. We rely on things like other people’s facial expressions, hand gestures, and eye contact to get a better understanding of what they mean. Even your posture can be telling. During your presentation, your body language should let your audience know you’re confident in what you’re talking about and helps to keep them engaged.
Make it Personal
Few things are worse than sitting through a presentation that feels like it’s all information from an indifferent presenter being thrown at you. You want to hear something interesting or relatable mixed in so that you can form a connection with the presenter. No matter what the topic is on, presentations should have a personal touch to them. You don’t want it to sound like a presentation that dozens of others have given and that someone in your audience has already heard. Part of giving a great presentation is giving it your own spin. If you’re giving a presentation, chances are you’re somewhat of an expert on the subject, so adding in something personal shouldn’t be too hard. Maybe it’s a presentation where a funny story would be fitting or something to pull at their heartstrings. Give your audience something they would only be able to get with you as their presenter.
Find a Mentor
For many people, presentation skills don’t come naturally. If you watch some of the best presentations you can find, it might seem like these people were born to speak in front of an audience. The best presenters make it seem like this is something they were born with, but they’ve likely had some help along the way. It’s important to remember that you can ask for help from people who know best about how to give a presentation. If you want to become great at something, whatever it may be, you’re going to need some guidance. A mentor or coach can help give you the tips you need to master public speaking and how to practice it. Even if you can’t find someone to help you personally, find a public speaker you admire and want to emulate and watch how they do it to help find your footing.