It isn’t unusual to be tasked with giving a presentation; whether it’s during university classes or as part of a job. Many of us, understandably, aren’t completely comfortable with delivering a presentation to a group of people – public speaking can be a nerve-wracking experience.
It is important that you start to feel comfortable presenting, as it is likely something you will be asked to do throughout your career. There are a lot of small things you can do that will help you to feel more confident about engaging with an audience. Set yourself up for success by reading our top tips on improving your presentation skills.
Planning is key
Like with any piece of work, planning is the key to success when it comes to presentations. Create an outline of what you would like to talk about, covering all of the key points that you need to include. Write out each section of your presentation in steps, using images to help along the way. This will make it easier to memorise what you need to say, and will help you get your head around the chosen topic.
Practice makes perfect
There’s no such thing as too much practice. Get a friend to watch your presentation and ask them for feedback – they might be able to suggest some ways to improve that you hadn’t thought of. You could also take the time to film yourself so that you can watch it back and pick up on any mistakes. Time yourself to ensure you don’t go over or under your allotted time, and keep practising until you get it right.
Do your research
It’s essential to research your topic in-depth before you attempt to present on it. If you are confident with the material, you’ll find it easier to talk about, and will be able to answer any audience questions that may come your way. You will feel more comfortable talking at length about your chosen topic and will not need to rely heavily on notes.
Know your audience
If your audience are senior members of a corporation, your presentation style will be significantly different than if you are presenting to a group of school children. Make sure you know who you’ll be presenting to and adjust the way you deliver information accordingly.
Make your presentation eye-catching
Using graphics and charts to lay out your information visually can be a great way to get your message across, and will make your presentation more engaging. Remember not to go too overboard with designs and colours; you want your presentation to be attractive, but not too busy that people will struggle to read it.
Remember, nearly everyone gets nervous when they have to give a presentation. Once you get into the swing of it and have successfully delivered one for the first time, you won’t feel as nervous the next time you have to do one. Interested in brushing up on your writing skills too? Take a look at our previous blog post on how to improve your English writing skills.