Giving presentations is an important part of our educational and professional career. Whether it’s a sales pitch, team meeting, seminar, or an expo, we’re using presentation skills. Some people feel relaxed and confident delivering a presentation, while others are nervous and uncomfortable at the thought of talking in front of others. The good news is that there are lots of skills and techniques we can learn to become more effective in giving engaging talks.
Here we’ll go over some insightful tips on how to improve presentation skills.
Start preparing your presentation by deciding on the key message that you want to communicate. Keep your core message brief, clear, and easy-to-understand. Begin introducing the main points you’re going to present; try to have one main point for each slide. Start with an introduction by explaining the purpose of the presentation, then move on talking about the key points in detail and, in the end, summarize your presentation with a call-to-action defining what the audience can take away from your presentation.
- Remember 10-20-30 rule for slideshows
Guy Kawasaki’s famous 10/20/30 rule of presentation design suggests that a presentation should
- Have no more than 10 slides
- Last no more than 20 minutes
- Contain no font smaller than 30 points
The last is particularly important as the idea behind it is to avoid putting too much information on slides. Avoiding bullets and using a large font size will make it much easier for the audience to read what is written in the slides and remember something of importance.
Try to avoid too many words whenever possible; make your presentation more visual so that it’s simple and easy to understand for the audience. You can use Readable to check the readability of your texts and see how you can improve them. Grammarly is also a handy app you may consider for checking your writing to make it clear and more effective.
- Use visuals, images, and headlines
Messages accompanied by pictures are more likely to catch attention, so adding the right headers, colors, images, GIFs and visual aids could spice up your presentation and make it stand out. Try to step away from default templates and design unique and creative visuals that convey the message you’re trying to communicate.
There are lots of tools that can help you create all sorts of such things, such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides that support real-time collaborating capabilities and features, such as slide design, embedding videos, creating diagrams, importing templates for free, preview options, and more. Another great alternative is Keynote, known for its beautiful templates and simple interface, making it easy to add images and multimedia into your presentation. Visme is also a popular presentation app that you may use to create professional presentations from scratch. It features a variety of templates, visuals, different slide types, images, charts, and graphics to suit your taste. Consider also using line and page animations to make your presentation more dynamic. And if you need free high-quality images, you may go for Pixabay.
Connecting with your audience is very important to keep them interested throughout the presentation. Try to make your presentation interactive and engage your listeners by making them feel as if they are participating. Here are some tips to help you with this:
- Use eye contact and body language to connect with the audience
- Don’t talk too fast, speak clearly and with confidence
- Take brief pauses to emphasize important ideas
- Move around and interact with the listeners
- Smile and add a little humor to keep your listeners entertained and give them a reason to listen
- Use stories and make it like a conversation
Try to make your presentation interactive and engage your audience by making them feel as if they are participating. Think about the information your audience will find useful and interesting; add real-life examples and stories, compelling data, and facts to involve them fully. Make sure to summarize key points as the conclusion and give time for questions and discussions at the end of the talk.
It’s fine to refer to the screen during the presentation, but constantly reading from slides may make you look unprepared and unprofessional. So instead, use your notes and have the slides support your presentation and complement to what you’re actually saying.
Practice makes perfect and gives you confidence. Practicing your presentation out loud a few times before delivering it to the audience will help you give a smooth and fluent talk.
When dressing for a presentation, it’s important to pick something professional yet comfortable that makes you feel confident. Try to avoid clothes that have messages either in words or depicted graphically so as not to divert your audience’s attention away from what you’re saying. In any case, make sure to match your appearance to the occasion and the audience.
Feeling nervous before big presentations is normal, but try to calm yourself from the inside, arrive early, practice, breathe deeply, smile, think about the audience, not yourself and try to engage with them. Make also sure to thoroughly review your presentation, think of possible questions that may come up, and be ready to answer each one. Enjoy the process to make your presentation better.
Got a big presentation coming up? We hope these tips will help you improve your next presentation and make it even more engaging and enjoyable.