There are many ways to make a presentation. The best ones are fresh and new, but here are a few best practices on how to improve your presentation skills. Before considering the presentation think about the two main aspects:
1. Think about the message– know exactly what it is you want your audience to know by the end of the presentation. Try and sum up your presentation in one sentence- this will demonstrate that you have mastered the topic!
2. Think about your audience– tailor the presentation in order to keep your audience engaged and make sure they understand your message by the end. For example, there is no need to explain the basics of a topic if you are presenting to experts in your field.
Once you have mastered these two key aspects you can move onto the presentation itself!
1. Give an introduction to engage the audience early on and make sure that the presentation remains focused and does not ramble off topic- the introduction sets the tone for the rest of the presentation.
2. Keep it simple and don’t try to cram too much into the time given. It is better to cover one topic well than lose your audience while attempting to cover too many topics.
3. Have a set of bullet points rather than reading off a script for the whole time. It is even better to memorize main points and naturalize them into a conversational flow. This will be more meaningful and authentic.
4. Have pre-prepared material like a slide-show or a Prezi presentation for a more impressive and visual presentation.
– Pre-prepared material is meant to enhance your presentation, not replace it. There is nothing worse than someone who hides behind a slide of text.
– Keep the slides neat and concise.
– Use color and images rather than just large blocks of text- a picture says a thousand words (and is more interesting to look at).
– Use each slide to demonstrate one point with an image and a short header.
5. Practice with friends or even film yourself and watch it back. The more preparation the better. When giving the presentation slow down! I can guarantee that you think you are going slower than you actually are.
6. Eye contact is key to connect with your audience and not lose their attention. If you can’t connect with them you will lose them very quickly. If you get nervous- try to talk to a couple of people before the presentation so that you have a couple of friendly faces to concentrate on!
7. Timing. Make sure that your presentation fits into the time available. Get out your stopwatch or phone and read everything aloud as practice before the big presentation. This is also good for spotting any mistakes.
8. Have a conclusion. Bring the presentation to an end on a high note! Sum up what you have said during the whole presentation by bringing it full circle.
9. Offer Q&A at the end. This is a chance to engage with your audience and gain feedback as well as clearing up any doubts that the audience may have.
Take a few deep breaths, stand straight and good luck!