Whether you’re looking to impress the boss or ace an assignment at university, great presentation skills are a key tool in your arsenal and are a sure fire way to promotion and good grades. Read on for our top tips.
With the right set of visual aids and appropriate preparation, presentations can be not only a way to educate your classmates, but a platform for you to shine.
Know the topic your presenting:
All the wizardry of PowerPoint will mean nothing if you are relying on it to dazzle in place of your knowledge. Spend time thoroughly researching your subject matter – you’ll enjoy your presentation more and so will your audience.
Get to the room early:
Give yourself a bit of time before the presentation to familiarise yourself with the room and the equipment you’ll be using. There’s nothing worse for your nerves, or the audience’s attention span, than spending the first five minutes of the session fiddling with the laptop or cords. They are there to hear from you, so get the technology sorted beforehand and spend your time up the front focusing on them.
Know your audience:
This is a good life lesson to learn. To really engage people, try to find some mutual ground and speak to them using familiar language. You won’t hold their attention if you don’t tailor your speech to their interests or ability levels. Be sure to introduce new concepts gradually and adopt a conversational style – they’ll feel like you’re speaking with them, not at them.
Signposting your presentations:
For anyone who may not have been involved with debating in high school, signposting is a great technique to use when speaking to an audience. Tell them what you’re going to speak about, talk about it, and then sum up by telling them what you just talked about. It gives you a structure to work with, which is great for both your nerves and staying on track, and allows your audience to follow along easily.
It’s much more interesting, and memorable, to listen to someone who feels strongly about their topic. So, ditch the monotone, and make sure you use lots of expression.
Eye candy while you present:
The best way to put people to sleep is to speak at them solidly for an hour. Even the best attention span can’t cope for long with just a barrage of words, so make sure to include lots of visual aids like pictures and graphs to keep your audience interested and engaged.
Allow extra time:
Give your audience the chance either throughout, or at the end of your presentation, to ask questions. Don’t forget to watch your pace – if they’re nodding off, speed things along. If they’re looking dazed and confused, slow down.
Thank people for their time:
Time is valuable so, whether you’re at university or in a business setting, remember your manners and thank your audience for allowing you to present to them.
Presentation tips to impress your audience:
- Audiences need visual aids to stay engaged
- Allow time for questions
- Know your audience
- Be early and make sure your technology works