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Presentations are enough to strike fear into the hearts of most mere mortals, but for professionals today and even university students, it’s highly likely that delivering presentations is something you’re going to have to do. So, rather than getting hot under the collar and struggling for words, here are some top presentation tips you can fall back on to help you deliver a presentation you can be proud of.
We’ve collated advice from experienced presenters around the UK to help you connect and engage with the audience and give your presentation skills a boost. We’ve also covered a whole range of areas, from producing concise slides to the importance of technology, to really help you improve.
Not sure how to make a good presentation? Here are our top presentation skills tips…
1. Arrive early
It’s essential that you arrive early for any presentation. You need to check out the venue, make sure everything is in place and run through the slideshow to make sure there won’t be any glitches. Preparing properly can do a lot to reduce your anxiety.
2. Start strongly
The beginning of your presentation is crucial. If you appear under confident or kick-off with information that’s not immediately compelling, you risk losing your audience before you’ve even begun. The audience will give you a few minutes grace before they start switching off, so it’s essential you grab their attention while you can. This can be done with an interesting statistic, a story or an anecdote. Don’t waste this vital part of your presentation explaining who you are. That can wait till the end.
3. Smile and make eye contact
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘fake it until you make it’; well, at the start of a presentation, that’s exactly what you need to do. Smiling at the audience and making eye contact not only helps you feel less nervous, but it also allows you to build a rapport with the audience. As your confidence builds, this will become a much easier and more natural thing to do.
4. Communicate your core message
Regardless of how long the presentation lasts of how much you have to say, you should always be able to communicate your core message in no more than 10-15 words. If you can’t, that means you’re not clear in your own head exactly what it is you want to say. Speaking can be a very ineffective way to communicate, so make sure you write down your core message, learn it and make it as concise as it can be.
5. The 10-20-30 rule
To avoid the dreaded ‘death by PowerPoint’, you would be wise to follow the 10-20-30 rule. This is one of the most popular of all presentation skills tips, but it really does work.
- Make sure you have no more than 10 slides
- Don’t let your slideshow drag on for more than 20 minutes
- Use a font size of at least 30
Even if your presentation is all about how you’re going to revolutionise the world, you should still follow this simple rule to condense the most important elements. If you have further information to impart then give a handout to attendees after the presentation has finished.
6. Be aware of your body language
Three-quarters of communication is thought to be non-verbal. That means your body language is key to getting your message across. Moving around the stage naturally, using open and confident gestures and speaking slowly and clearly will help you deliver your message. However, you should not plan gestures beforehand as they will not match your involuntary body cues. If you’re not confident enough to gesticulate naturally then keep your hands by your side.
7. Use the right technology
There’s nothing worse than turning up to a presentation and having to wait 20 minutes while the host fiddles around with the projector. If you don’t have the equipment you need, hire it. Projectors, projector screens and interactive voting systems are all available for short-term rental and can play a vital role in boosting audience engagement. Some people prefer large TV screens or smart boards to projectors/projector screens (especially if a room is quite bright), or multiple screens if there is a large audience. It’s also important to ensure you’ll be heard, so a microphone and PA system could be hired.
8. Treat the presentation like a story
Humans are programmed to respond to stories. Stories make it easier for us to remember information and pay attention, so think about your presentation as one big story, with a beginning, middle and an end. The information you impart should have a natural flow and wherever possible, include characters rather than ‘things’. Here are 15 presentation tips for storytellers.
9. Don’t apologise
There’s nothing worse than an overly apologetic presenter who hasn’t done anything wrong. When you’re nervous, apologising for pauses or fumbles with the technology might come naturally, but all it does is make you look anxious and lacking in confidence, so don’t do it.
10. Keep breathing and relax
Not sure how to make a good presentation? The simplest of all our presentation tips is to breathe deeply and relax. If you do both then you will almost certainly deliver a better presentation. You never know, you might even enjoy yourself!
At Hire Intelligence, we offer short-term or long-term rental, on the latest presentation aids and training technology from the leading brands. Click for a quick quote or get in touch to find out more.