Top tips on how to improve your presentation skills

Personal Development

Public is one of the most nerve-racking things to do, and if you’re not born with natural eloquence, it can be very difficult for you to stand and make a presentation for even the smallest group of people.

Developing a personal speaking style is one of the key to becoming successful in making presentations. Regardless of the style you choose, if you’re not the most comfortable public speaker, one thing that can help you is to always speak with enthusiasm come into any presentation prepared with useful content and tons of data.

While you may never be one of the public speakers like Barak Obama, there are some things that can help you calm your nerves when you are making presentations so you can deliver; here are some of them:

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice

Its normal to practice your speech before presenting them. However, if you want to give an amazing presentation, it is important to even do more than just practicing your speech once or twice.

Writing down your speech could help you overcome nervousness and would help you sound great without missing an important point.

It also helps to practice your presentation in the venue that you want to make the actual presentation. Try to get more comfortable in as many positions as possible, including sitting, standing, crossing your arms, keeping your arms wide open, among others.

  1. Turn your nervousness into Enthusiasm

We usually feel nervous before making presentations, so we have to find something that pumps us up before going in front of people to make the presentations.

Studies have confirmed that people relate more to an enthusiastic speech than an eloquent one, so whatever gets you in the mood to spread your enthusiasm should be what you turn to just before a presentation.

Some people may take an overload of caffeine to feel confident while others  would go for some hip hop music just before their presentation. Whatever you feel does it for you, give it a shot and get enthusiastic before you presentations always, because people know when you are enthusiastic or not and they can catch it easily.

  1. Make time out to attend other presentations.

If you are making a presentation in a conference where other people would be presenting before you, take some time to look at those people who are scheduled to present before you do and study how they present.

You can get a first hand view of what the audience responds too more and how to manage the stage properly.

If you making a private presentation in the office, you can watch Youtube videos of other presenters as well as go and attend some live events where people would be speaking publicly.

You can also get something you can play later with later in your own presentation from watching others present.

  1. Always be among the first to arrive

There is always the need to have plenty time to settle before making a presentation and you’d not get that if you stay at home and begin to rush down to the venue of the presentation when it is almost time.

When you arrive at the venue early, your mind would have settled on the surrounding and you would even have the advantage of practicing your speech on the stage before people start trouping in.

5. Take a Deep Breaths often

This is a classic advice, yet it is important to list it here. When we are nervous, as we often are when making a presentation, our muscles tend to tighten up and more often than not, hold our breath.

Take some time and take deep breaths and this would allow oxygen pass into your brain and you’d feel more relaxed.

6. Get Familiar with your Surrounding

This follows going to the venue of your presentation early. When you get into the hall you’d be making your presentation, try to practice with the microphone you’d be using if that is possible, take note of the seating and try to know about any distraction that comes with the venue, e.g. a busy street.

You’d feel more comfortable if you’ve adjusted to the venue than if it is alien to you.

7. Chat with your audience

Before you presentation, it is always a good idea to chat with people who would be part of the audience. When you talk up your audience before going on stage, you would make them feel more comfortable with you and they would see you as an approachable person. Talking to them may also expose you to some ideas you can add into your talk.

8. Know that the audience wish you well

One of the biggest fears we have when we are to stand before an audience to present is that the audience is secretly laughing at us when we make any mistake. The truth is, this isn’t always the case.

The audience always want you to succeed because nobody wants to waste their time watching a failed presentation. Another thing to keep in mind is that many people also fear of speaking in public so they sympathize with you if you make mistake.

9. Smile

If you are looking for an inexpensive way to feel good about your presentation, just smile. Smiling would bring calmness no matter how anxious you are, and it increases the release of endorphins.

To also show that you are confident enthusiastic about your presentation, you also just need to smile and the  whole crowd would buy into your enthusiasm. However, don’t overdo it as nobody enjoys it when they know you are obviously trying to mask something.

10. Use pauses more often

Nervousness causes us to rush through our presentation and end up talking too fast. This way, you may find it hard to really present your ideas to the audience as you’d be panicking.

Make sure you pause throughout your presentation, to emphasize a point, and also make your talk feel like a conversation with the audience. Whenever you feel like you’ve lost control of your pacing, just pause a little and stay calm.

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