Public speaking and presenting not your forte? You are not alone.
It’s true that many of us, myself included, dread public speaking. Whether it’s presenting to a small group or packed theatre, peers and colleagues or a room full of strangers the result is always the same. Red face, shaky hands, and a trembling voice. So how do you get past this? What is the secret to delivering an on-point presentation that engages your audience?
Here are some key tips to help you deliver your presentation like a pro:
- Know your content
Take the time to learn your presentation, practise what you are going to say and time it. You don’t want to sound scripted but equally you definitely do not want to read your presentation word for word.
- Annunciate and project
Speak clearly, calmly and remember to project. Nervousness can often lead to people speaking quickly as they just want to get through the presentation, which can make it difficult for your audience to follow and to sustain their attention.
- Using PowerPoint or a handout?
You may decide to use a PowerPoint or have a handout as a visual aid, however don’t fall into the trap of writing your complete presentation on the slides, as your audience will read on and in the majority of cases loose interest. Keep it bullet pointed and concise so that you are able to expand upon each theme.
- Eye contact
As a presenter you need to capture and engage your audience. Speaking to the floor will not enable you to do this. Ensure you make eye contact with various people around the room to help maintain engagement levels.
- Research your topic
Research is key. At the end of any presentation you typically invite the audience to ask any questions. Whilst you don’t need to know everything there is to know on the subject, you do want to be able to credibly answer the majority of questions posed to you. If the unthinkable happens and you forget your presentation, being confident with the topic will allow you to freestyle.
- Remember to smile and try to enjoy it!
People expect nerves but by sticking to these six simple steps you will feel more confident, start to relax and maybe even enjoy your presentation!
Georgie Millyard, Rutherford Cross