Every person can learn how to present well. Both the techniques you use and your style matter in the success of a good presentation. Not every presentation approach will work for an individual person, and it is always recommended to develop a personal style that you are comfortable and confident using. This confidence will show to an audience, and will make it much easier for you to deliver presentations without experiencing significant stress.
Here are nine tips on how to present well that you can incorporate into your general presentation style:
- Know How to Use Humor – Humor is a difficult thing to pull off in a presentation. Get it right with a short anecdote to break the ice at the start of a presentation, and you can get an audience on your side. However, making a joke that falls flat will only make things uncomfortable. Think carefully about the audience that you will be presenting to, and consider whether humor is suitable to the situation and your style.
- Work on Gestures and Body Language – Body language and hand gestures can help you to hold the attention of an audience. You needn’t spend a lot of time in trying to work out the best movements or gestures, but should try to focus on keeping eye contact, emphasizing key points, and keeping your posture straight and your body language relaxed.
- Change Vocal Tone and Pace – A monotone presentation will most likely cause your audience to switch off and lose interest. Work on varying your tone of voice and the volume by which you deliver your presentation.
- Use Visual Aids Appropriately – A few visual aids can help to enhance key points, and can keep audiences entertained during the course of a presentation. However, you should avoid producing overly detailed PowerPoint slides, as well as handouts that require audiences to focus on your speaking and the information in front of them.
- Always Rehearse as Much as You Can – Rehearsing a whole presentation out loud is much better than hoping that a written script will be fine on the day. Timing, vocal inflection and volume are all issues that can be worked through by performing the presentation out loud. Try and see if any friends, family members or colleagues will be willing to act as an audience for you.
- Focus on Three Key Points – An effective presentation should only consist of a few key points. Ask yourself, what three things do you want your audience to remember after the presentation. This may sound simple, but to learn how to present well, being able to boil down your presentation into three central points is key. This way it’s easier for the audience to follow and you have a clear structure for your presentation.
- Make Sure You Have All Technical Issues Resolved – Fiddling with cables and projectors before a presentation will make an audience restless, and will not come across as professional. Arrive early enough in the presentation room to get everything loaded up and checked. Doing so will also help you to relax and take in the size of the room and the potential audience for your talk.
- Don’t Overload Audiences with Information – Too much data or graphs can be very tiring to an audience. The best approach is to work on a technique where you can use a few graphs or information to support your three points, while suggesting that further data can be produced on request, or discussed in a question and answer session.
- Recap Key Points - Don’t be afraid about pausing to recap your key points during a presentation and at the end of your presentation. This technique can act as breathers for an audience if you’re covering a lot of information, and will also help to add structure to your presentation.
Your comments: Did these tips help you learn how to present well? Please add your comments below.
Guest author: Christina Appleworth is an intern for Speak First. Inspire confidence and create impact via our presentation skills training courses available throughout the UK.
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