A list of good presentation skills or hints and tips is never a bad thing to have in your arsenal when dealing with audiences. Here I am going to give you eight hints and tips to make sure your presentations are not just good but great.
1. Speaker Notes
Your notes should only fill one side of A4 paper and should only have large bullet points to guide you. You should not be holding it either. Make sure there is somewhere to put it down where you can see and read if t.
There is a huge tendency to want to go and present with your whole presentation written out, in case you forget. Do not do this. You will read it and no one wants to listen to someone reading off a script. And if you do forget you won’t be able to find your place anyway. Do not use cue cards either. You do not want to do what I did once and drop the lot and made a right mess of trying to put them back in order. Not big and not clever.
2. Use a compliment or two
” As experienced people you will ….” Do not go overboard but a couple of sentences starting like this will get the audience on board.
3. Include yourself
“Like you I have had to embrace this new policy….. and I understand the challenges you are facing…”
Again don’t go overboard but include yourself in the group with sentences like this. Using “We”instead of “I”or “You” will also help you to create rapport.
4. Be Enthusiastic
If you cannot show enthusiasm for what you are saying then you cannot expect a great response from your audience. Two things will make you appear more enthusiastic, smiling and eye contact. Take a look at my post on improving your communication skills.
5. Manage the audiences expectations
The audience will have pre conceived ideas about your presentation and you need to manage that. These preconceptions may be based on previous presentations you have done or presentations by others they have seen in the organisation. The preconception may be simply about the title of the presentation or maybe the tone of the email they got to advise them of your presentation. Most pre conceived ideas are things you could not have done anything about prior to you presenting.
Acknowledge any pre conceived ideas they may have in a non judgemental way and then tell them what they will be getting instead. In example ” I imagine you have been dreading this presentation as I know not many people are keen on the new policy introduced last week, however today I am going to show you how it can be of benefit to you”
6. Keep your message clear
Keep your message simple and make sure your audience is aware of the message behind any information you give to them. “All of the data we have just discussed should enable you to…..” This keeps the audience focused and interested because you are showing them what benefit they will get. To find out more about influencing your audience take a look at my post on getting your audience on side.
7. Speak up
Most of us in a presentation situation tend to lower our voices. Sometimes it’s nerves, sometimes it is just an inherent desire not to be noticed.
If you are going to give a presentation then you need to be heard. Now I don’t want you to shout but raise your voice above any conversational level. Also don’t keep your voice at one monotone level. Raise and lower your voice. I like to consider it like a dance. Up tempo and down tempo.
Watching someone stand still is kind of boring. If you can’t change position, every now and again, at least move you arms to denote what you are saying. Think of it as drawing a picture with your hands.
I hope you have found this list of good presentation skills useful. If you would like to share any of your own tips or have any questions then please leave them in the comments section below