Essential Presentation Skills
Quick Tips to Improve your Presentations Skills
written by Jan D'Arcy
Learn quick tips and techniques to improve your presentations skills - everything from preparation, content, to delivery skills.
- Your audience expects to take away useful information during your presentation, but you also want to give them the benefit of your unique insight, your analysis, and your recommendations.
- Do a "reality check" on your speech - compare your presentation with the session description.
- Preview your agenda. Outline the topics that need to be covered, develop your message, and narrow your main points.
- Break down complex material into small, cohesive units.
A presentation based on a strong organizational pattern provides structure. It brings order and clarity when divided into main points and supporting points. This will enable your audience to follow your reasoning and relevance of your ideas.
- Whenever you make a general statement, give concrete examples. Give the general idea or major findings before you give the details. Then choose vivid images that are familiar to your audience.
- Associate new information with the familiar so that your audience can see relationships.
- Translate or define unknown terminology, especially acronyms. An audience may miss the whole object of your presentation because you assume they understand terms basic to your own profession.
- Use stories or analogies for greater retention. Using these devices in your presentations can help facilitate understanding by explaining the complex in simple, everyday terms.
- Create effective visuals to grab an audience's attention and quickly convey and clarify abstract/complicated concepts.
- Keep your eyes and your attention on your audience, not your visuals. Your eyes will immediately signal your degree of confidence to everyone when you get up to give a presentation. Studies show that strong eye contact increases the audience's attention, interest, understanding, and satisfaction, with the speaker.
- Rehearse and time your presentation. It is an important step in the process of mastering your material and developing a sense of timing. It can also free you from internal critiques, allowing you to concentrate on your words and feedback from the audience.
- Anticipate possible questions and prepare answers. You can then decide how you can reinforce your message and advance your objective to inform, instruct, report, or persuade during the Q & A period of your presentation.
- Visit the room prior to your presentation to get accustomed to the physical space. Take responsibility for your presentation site; don't depend on anyone else "set the stage" for you. An audience's first impressions of the site strongly affects their reaction to what follows.
Relax, encourage interaction, and most importantly, enjoy yourself!
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