Whether you have to go to a conference to spread your company’s message or showcase ideas internally, these tips could help you elevate your presentation to new heights.
Presentation skills are essential to succeeding in the professional sphere. These skills arise in many key workplace situations, such as making proposals and speaking at conferences. Even the all-important job interview is a form of presentation.
However, many of us harbour deep anxieties about public speaking that, if not adequately addressed, can harm career prospects.
There’s a widespread misconception that presentation skills are a gift bestowed at birth. People seem to believe that it’s something you either have or don’t have – that couldn’t be further from the truth.
All of the most eloquent speakers have gotten to that point because they have practised. Public speaking and good presentation are skills like any other, and skills can be honed.
The best thing you can do for yourself when crafting a presentation is to settle on your core message. It’s unlikely your audience is going to retain most of what you say to them, so the key is to pick a central theme and emphasise it multiple times. Repetition (in the right quantities) is your friend.
To convey your ideas effectively, especially when presenting to people who don’t work in your field, metaphors are a great tool. They will help your audience retain your core message. Visuals to accompany your speech, such as slides, will further reinforce your main point.
Arm yourself with some well-crafted flash cards and practise your presentation before the big day. You could even get a friend or colleague to watch it so you’re used to presenting it to an audience.
When the day finally arrives, try to keep a few things in mind. Make occasional eye contact with your audience. Keep your body language in check by opening your arms and chest and keeping your back straight. Try to moderate your pace when speaking – if in doubt, err on the slow side. If you speak too quickly (which is often a side effect of being nervous), you run the risk that people won’t be able to understand what you’re saying.
For some more handy advice on giving a great presentation, check out the infographic below, brought to you by The Business Backer.