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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

21 Powerful Presentation Tips To Grow Your Confidence As A Speaker

Do you get nervous when you are asked to speak in front of a group of people? or if you have to deliver a speech or address a decent gathering of people? Do you get butterflies in your stomach? or Do you start shaking or shivering at the very thought of getting center stage? If answer to any one of these questions is 'Yes' then dont worry, you are not alone. Over 90% of people have this issue when it comes to public speaking. Speaking in public or delivering a presentation is an art, some people have it naturally in them but some dont; the good news is that it can be learned and with practice one can get very good at it.

Delivering a good presentation is just not merely about your speaking skills. A lot of preparation goes into making and delivering a good presentation. Prepartion starts way before you enter the seminar hall, it often takes few hours to prepare and on few occassions it may take several days to prepare for delivering a good presentation.

In this post we are going to mention very simple but powerful tips that will help you grow your confidence as a speaker. Here you go...

Before the presentation(Preparation)

  • Know your subject very well, if you are speaking on a subject in which you do not have expertise then it is wise to spend a lot of time on research. Read books, surf internet or ask other experts, but get as much as information as possible. This will boost your confidence.
  • Examine the seminar hall or meeting room prior to the presentation. If it is a new place then make sure you have checked every detail of the room, for example, light arrangements, projector arrangement, white board, markers, dusters, pin board etc. everything should be in perfectly working condition.
  • Do your homework, research about your audience before you deliver any presentation. Try to find about their age group, work experience, domain experience etc. This will help you interact with the audience and also help you respond to any questions that they may ask.
  • Don't bombard your PPT slide with lot of text. Use of pictures is highly recommended, however, don't clutter your slides with too many irrelevant pictures.
  • Use a font size that is visible to the person sitting in the last row of the seminar hall or meeting room.
  • Use animation when absolutely required. For example, if you are going to talk about 3 bullet points sequentially then use animation to control their appearance on the screen. This is because if you flash all three bullet points on screen in one go then the audience tends to read point#2 and point#3 while you are explaining point#1. This leads to distraction.
  • Guy Kawasaki advises to follow the 10-20-30 rule. That is, to use not more than 10 slides, spend not more than 20 minutes on the presentation and use 30 point font size on all your slides. This may or may not work for everyone but this is a solid advise and a very good point to customize as per individual needs.

During the presentation(Delivery)
  • Set the ground rules for the presentation. If your presentation is a day long affair then you may want to mention the break timings and the length of each break. You can also get agreement on penalty for late comers.
  • If the group of people attending the presentation are strangers to each other and to speaker then Ice breakers are extremely important to get them started. There are several ways to get the people speaking but some of the simple ways are to ask them to introduce themselves to the group in a innovative way. For example: In the introduction (a) they can use an adjective as a prefix to their name or (b) they can mention which animal they relate themselves with and why? These are some fun ways to get started with a group of people.
  • While delivering the presentation look in the eyes of the audience. Eye Contact is extremely important while delivering a presentation. Also, stand in such a way that you dont face only a certain section of the audience. Rotate or move in a way that everyone gets your attention. This includes people sitting at the back, on the left, right, corners etc.
  • Keep the presentation delivery interactive. If you speak without any interaction then audience may lose interest. Ask questions and be prepared to take question from the audience.
  • Never read word by word through/ from the PPT slide, use it only for reference. Your audience can read it on their own. You should be thorough with your content.
  • Generally people sitting at the back are either latecomers or people who are disinterested. Walking towards them and having a healthy conversation with them may help you to win their interest.
  • Storytelling is an important aspect of making good presentations. These are small incidents/ stories/ examples relevant to your subject, you should mention these while talking to the audience. People love to hear real examples so if you can give them short story bursts then it will keep your audience engaged.
  • Go slow. Don't rush through your presentations. Keep a check on time, however, don't rush through or speak very fast. Take frequent and required pauses. This will allow your audience to take notes or ask questions or make comments. Not only that, it will help you gain some breath.
  • Always keep an eye on your watch, that is, keep a check on time. Don't overshoot the schedule in any case.
  • Don't keep your hands folded while speaking, also avoid sitting cross legged. Avoid keeping any object, like a table or a desk between you and your audience. All of these are negative signs.
  • Be a good listener, if someone is asking you a question don't jump to conclusions, be patient and allow them to complete their sentences or questions. Once you have understood the question or comment then start answering. If you dont know the answer then dont bluff, be truthful, note the question and get back with an answer at a later point in time/ after the presentation.

After the presentation(Post Delivery)
  • Always ask for feedback, either distribute forms that the audience can fill manually or send them a online survey for providing you feedback.
  • Once you receive the feedback, note down the good and bad feedback, create a summary. Look at the opportunities for improvements and work towards improving the shortcomings before next presentation.
  • Send out the answers to any pending questions or any course material that you promised to deliver.

Conclusion: Delivering great presentations or developing good public speaking skills is not a rocket science, with continuous focus, dedicated efforts and planned approach anyone and everyone can learn, improve and master it. Remember a quote by Benny Bellamacina 'You are only limited by your own imagination'. All the best!

Bonus Tips: 

  • Keep a water bottle or a glass of water ready and near or on the stage. If you speak for long your thorat may dry and you will need to drink water to keep going.
  • If rehearsal works for you then practice your speak ahead of time. It will also be helpful for you to tone you voice and help you decide the pitch while stressing on certain points.
  • Clothes and body language matter a lot. You should wear something which makes you look professional as well as makes you feel comfortable. You dont want to wear something which will irriate you while you speak. Next most important aspect is the body language and facial expression. Always wear a smile and be sure to greet people in a pleasant way.
  • Be prepared for emergencies, for example, if someone from the audience who is very vital to your presentation needs to leave early then you should be prepared to fast track your delivery so that instead of 1 hour you can complete your presenation in 40 minutes.
  • Avoid being nervous, if you lose your thought or get blank while speaking then don't panic, just smile. Take a moment to gather your thoughts back. It is always good to have a small piece of mapper with key points of your presentation it will help you get back on track in these scenarios.

If you found this useful then you may also want to read:  7 Secrets To Make Your Own Luck