Introduction to Effective Presentation Skills
We’re constantly transforming to present ourselves better, so we look better, think better, act better, do better, choose better, live better, and ultimately, become so much better ourselves. It’s one heck of a way to personal expansion! This is never truer than in a corporate presentation. Professional presentations are a tiny glimpse of the larger cycle. They provide wonderful opportunities to present our best foot forward to a live audience.
Yet, public speaking ranks among the top fears suffered by professionals.
- I’m naturally shy!
- I’m a boring person!
- I’m not as good as this person or that person!
- People will laugh at me!
- What if I get stuck or forget my lines?
- What if I (shudder) fail?
If you’re one of this crowd, we have good news for you.
Develop Presentation Skills Effectively
Presentation skills training is skills that can be honed in any individual. So throw away your angst and your fear, coz in this Presentation skills training post, we outline 10 ways that are guaranteed to make a powerful presenter out of you!
1. Stay Real. Stay Yourself
Suppose there’s one reason we see people fail with their presentation skills training despite adequate preparation. In that case, it’s because they *think* they have to become someone else in front of an audience:
- Naturally, playful folks pretend to become serious.
- Reserved folks (fake) laugh a lot.
- Simple folks suddenly get complicated.
The result is an absolute disaster!
You are allowed to be yourself, only that you consciously present to others your best self.
This begins by throwing away all nonsensical ideas you believe take away from your best self. These ideas typically arise from comparison:
- I’m not as expressive as this person. (So your presentation will have less drama. Big deal!)
- People don’t laugh at my jokes as they do at that person. (That’s not true; you need to Google funnier jokes)
- I’m short, so people can’t see me. (Are you saying people can’t see you standing when sitting? If so, you’ll have to use your “booming voice” to reach people or perhaps use a long stool to sit on. It adds good drama! J)
As you can see, building solid presentation skills training requires you to give up the *wrong* attitude and ideas.
As you work through the rest of the tips outlined here, you’ll discover that there’s always something you can do better, even as you stay true to yourself.
2. Express Your Passion
Passion is that special ingredient that adds a huge dose of interest to your presentation. You see, passion brings with it the 3 mighty E’s: Enthusiasm, Excitement, and Energy!
Conversely, if you’re struggling to connect passion with your presentation skills training, ask yourself what triggers the 3 E’s for you.
- What gives you a kick and gets you excited?
- How can you use this in your presentation and spread your enthusiasm?
- How can you flood your audience with a powerful dose of high energy?
This, in turn, will lead to your passion.
Sometimes, we may feel “compromised” to present a topic that’s not aligned with our passion. Here’s an open secret: awesome presentation skills training is all about making the most out of EVERY presentation opportunity.
3. Prepare for Perfection
You’d be surprised to know that the greatest of presentations delivered is backed not just by mere presentation skills importance but by continuous preparation. We live to become better. So with every new session of preparation, we will get better. Heck, it’s the rule of the game!
Let me give you an example here. The first time you prepare the material for your session, you’re likely to discover that you don’t have it all right or even have it all together. But as you continue to work on your material, the scattered pieces begin to fit together.
4. Rehearse, and rehearse some more
This is a little different from preparation. With rehearsal, you present your final polished act before a live but “mock” audience. We suggest that you present with the following mock audience to get the best out of your rehearsal:
- To yourself, in front of a mirror:
You are your most adamant critic. When you rehearse in front of a mirror, it will reflect your conviction. This, in turn, will help you understand what to tweak to strengthen your conviction. This is the key to staying confident and convincing in front of an external audience.
- To close friends or family:
Did you know that people find it more challenging to present to known people than to complete strangers? We care more about their (perceived) judgment coz we care about them. If you can comfortably present to people you know, you’ve literally passed the acid test. It’s a great way to strengthen your presentation skills for business.
- To the stage where you will present:
Treat this as a “dress rehearsal,” where you get a chance to figure out the dynamics of the room where you’ll finally be present. This will help you tweak the amount of movement during your presentation, your most comfortable stance, and the best way to use any props the stage provides.
Finally, remember this: the intent of rehearsals is for you to catch potential improvements for your presentation, coz it’s all really about getting better every moment. So don’t feel disappointed if your rehearsal doesn’t turn out “perfect”. Building awesome presentation skills training is an iterative cycle, and no small effort goes wasted.
5. Leave Space for Spontaneity
There is such a thing as “over-practiced” presentation skills in business. Here, we don’t mean that you’ve prepared too much but that you’ve left no room for spontaneity in your presentation skills in business.
Despite all your preparation skills training, there will always be a surprise or two. Believe us when we say that this is a good thing to happen to your presentation.
If you can become comfortable with this, you will:
- Become comfortable with not knowing it all.
- Learn to improvise on your feet when put on the spot. Without panic.
- Find ways to engage the audience to provide answers and increase participation.
Together, they can provide avenues for your sparkling spontaneity to shine throw. It is the spark of spontaneity that takes your presentation skills to a different level altogether. We gently suggest that you allow this to happen.
6. Mix Things Up
There is only one guaranteed formula that great presenters have for success: there is no “set” formula.
The best way to handle your presentation skill training is to handle each delivery as a new learning experience. For instance, if using a Q&A session at the end of your presentation skills training has worked for you in the past, don’t automatically assume that this is the only way to success in the future. Perhaps a fun quiz will work better for your next audience. Or you may choose to use rock music insertions to appeal to a younger crowd and powerful visuals for a professional crowd.
7. Participate in Your Own Presentation
Let’s take a step back here and imagine that we’re the audience. Let’s take another step back to a different time when someone else presented a potentially interesting topic. But, the speaker spoke to the wall as he blindly changed one slide after another. Perhaps he didn’t even wait to check if the audience had finished reading the slide or, worse, had questions.
A good speaker actively participates in his or her own presentation. This means that they:
- Don’t take their audience for granted. They consciously connect and engage with the audience. (It’s not just the audience that can have questions for you; you can have questions for them too!)
- Actively listen to the audience. Do they have questions? Is the pace too fast? Too light? Too much? They also actively listen to themselves, just like the audience.
- Stay confident and comfortable when they discover (perhaps quite rudely during their presentation) that they don’t know something. They treat it as an opportunity to expand their knowledge and presentation skills in business.
- Allow for “planned” distractions. Nobody wants to attend a monotonous session, no matter how intense or important the topic is. If you don’t introduce some entertainment into your session, the audience will find their own entertainment, perhaps at your expense! Best to balance your intense sessions with some fun elements.
8. Armor Yourself with the Right Body Language and Attitude
As any body language expert will tell you, we communicate more through non-verbal signals through our gestures than through our speech. Hence it makes sense for every good presenter to invest himself in learning basic body language skills. After all, you don’t want to inadvertently stand in an aggressive posture while you speak eloquently on “How to make friends, easily” do you?
With positive body language at play (and these do include exceedingly simple tricks like maintaining eye contact, adopting a non-threatening posture, smiling often, etc.), what you speak and how you act cohesively align to send out a powerful, consistent message.
9. Recognize Your Audience
Do you know what ranks as “the most threatening fear” of public speaking? Fear of being judged by your audience. It’s even bigger than the fear of failure. We tend to think that the audience is constantly judging us and waiting for us to err and fail. But that’s simply not true! You see, almost nobody enjoys a bad presentation. So even before you begin, a large part of the audience wants you to succeed. They are rooting for you. They are with you. They are on YOUR side.
10. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
A lot of our perceived failures are because we take ourselves way too seriously. We judge and criticize ourselves and believe that unless we deliver this, this, and that, our presentation is not a success. If you’re serious about packing in undeniably solid presentation skills training, that is one attitude to throw out of the window ruthlessly!
Drop your judgments on what a “good” presentation or a “successful” presentation looks like! If you have lasted until the end of the presentation (without falling apart), and you’ve engaged the audience, your presentation is a success. Your presentation skills training are rolling. YOU are a success!
This post is set to fortify your presentation skills and make a winning presenter out of you. Don’t take it to heart if you don’t get it all right with your first session. Just as long as you don’t give up after any perceived failure, you are on your way to becoming a mighty effective presenter! We leave you with one last-minute tip so you always get it right. This is one trick you can use any time you find yourself stuck, panicky, forgetful, anxious, tired, confused, etc.
Just BREATHE. Smile. And continue
We hope that this EDUCBA information on “Presentation Skills Training” was beneficial to you. You can view EDUCBA’s recommended articles for more information,
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