We’ve all sat through presentations that were so boring we asked ourselves, “why am I even here?”
Developing your communication skills is critical to having success in the job market. So today we will discuss some techniques that will help us become better communicators, specifically, when giving presentations.
This seems self-evident, but I’m sure you’ve seen people give presentations and you can tell they’re nervous and shy. In order to deal with some of the nerves you may feel, practice smiling in front of a mirror before you go up to speak. It is much easier to connect with someone who is smiling than to someone with a frown on their face.
2. Be Passionate
People are much more likely to listen to someone who is passionate about their subject matter. If I go up to give a presentation and I demonstrate that I don’t really care about the subject, then nobody else will care. You can show passion with your tone of voice and body posture. So pay attention to that before you start.
3. Be Audience-Focused
Who is your audience and what are their needs? Think about that before you begin preparing your presentation. When you are in front of them, pay attention to their reactions and questions. Adjust your presentation accordingly.
A few months ago I was at a seminar about economic issues. It was entirely in German so I sat next to a German lady to get help with parts I didn’t understand. The speaker had at least 50 slides and kept going back and forth between the slides, so it was very difficult to understand his ideas. I asked the German woman next to me for help and she was unable to help because she also didn’t understand. As a general rule, don’t use more than 20 slides. Also, limit the amount of text on each slide, and don’t go overboard with graphics. Use the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
5. Tell a Story
People love stories. It helps us understand difficult concepts better. Find a way to connect your topic to a specific person. For example, if your company is launching a new product, talk about an individual who will be benefited by this product. If your presentation is about sales figures, talk about the employees and customers who made the company grow in the last quarter. Who are these people and what are their stories?
6. Pace Yourself
Some people speak very fast when they are nervous. To make sure you manage your nerves better, take deep breaths and pause at various points. Presentations can be fun, and if you are relaxed everyone will be able to enjoy it much more.
So there you have it. Now you’re ready to give a fantastic presentation. 😉
- Have you ever given a bad presentation? What did you do wrong?
- What helps you stay calm during a presentation?
- How could you improve your public speaking skills?