5 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Presidents, politicians, and teachers all have one thing in common: their uncanny ability to deliver effective presentations. For many, the mere mention of the word “presentation” can send them into a fit of panic. Let us be honest; presentations can truly be nerve-racking. In school, presentations are associated with grades; at work, they are related to selling your products and convincing clients. So, naturally, the higher the stakes are, the more nervous you will feel. Nonetheless, giving a rousing presentation does not have to be an ordeal. Thus, if you want to improve your presentation skills, but do not know how you have come to the right place. By just utilizing the next 5 tips, you are sure to get a round of applause!


1. Be Well Prepared

Granted, this is easier said than done. Stage fright can undermine all your efforts, but there is only one way to combat it: practicing. You need to write your main points and practice in front of the mirror or your friends until you perfect your delivery. Moreover, make sure you know the ins and outs of your topic; you do not want your audience to put you on the spot and ask you questions you cannot answer. Showing a deep understanding of your subject will help you retain better control over your presentation. Another tip is to record yourself to see whether or not you are using your voice effectively. It can be awful to hear your voice on record, but this can help you learn from your mistakes and avoid them when it is time to wow your audience. If you need more help you could get in touch with a presentation training company. There are many of them out there, so it’s really important that you know what to look for in a presentation training company.


2. Know Your Audience

To ensure that your presentation goes off without a hitch, you need to assess your audience first. Different audiences require various persuasion techniques. Consider their age, level of expertise, and goals. If you are giving a business presentation before your managers and potential clients, the experts from SlideHeroes.com recommend that you skip any jokes. Cracking a joke in a business setting will only make you seem unprofessional. You just need to be succinct and get to the meat of your presentation. On the other hand, if you are going to present in front of your colleagues in a more relaxed environment, you can include some jokes, but make sure they are actually funny. Lame jokes can be a huge turn-off and might make your audience lose interest. Also, you should avoid any specific jargon if you are not addressing experts. Your audience’s level of expertise should be reflected in your choice of words.


3. Rule Your Facial Expressions and Body Language

No one likes a presenter who seems aloof or, worse, panicky. You should practice to better control your facial expressions, as you want to look approachable yet professional at the same time. Avoid having a scrunched-up expression or a poker face. Alternatively, relax your muscles and smile. Yes, it is that simple! Smiling can put your audience at ease and prepare them to listen to whatever you are going to say. Moreover, your body language and hand gestures also play a huge role in making or breaking your presentation. For instance, crossing your arms can make you seem defensive. Maintain an open body language, and use your hand gestures to enhance your delivery. Just avoid using your hands too much because it can be distracting.


4. Make Sure Your Outfit Is Spot On

Your outfit is not an afterthought. Wearing the right clothes when giving your presentation can give you an edge. Evaluate your environment first, as it will determine your attire. If you are going to give a business or a serious academic presentation, stick to formal clothing. On the contrary, you can wear a casual outfit if your venue is not that formal. Generally, women must avoid bright nail polish colors because they can be distracting, while men need to wear polished shoes and wrinkle-free garments. Make sure your shoes are attractive but comfortable. Try using heel spur inserts for women and men to ensure foot pain isn’t a distraction while presenting.


5. Arrive Early

A million things can go wrong during your presentation. Arriving early at your venue will help you avoid any embarrassing surprises. If you are using PowerPoint slides, check if the projector is functioning properly. Furthermore, do not forget to ensure that your mic is working well and making your voice sound crisp clear. Arriving early will also help you survey the size of the room, helping you find a good place to stand so that everyone can see you.

Delivering a rousing presentation is not a walk in the park, but it does not have to be unnecessarily hard. By preparing well, knowing your audience, and perfecting your body language, your audience will be in awe of your presentation skills. Remember to not overcomplicate things; having a positive mindset can go a long way towards making you a great presenter.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.