Big presentations are often one of the most daunting parts of a job – presenting in front of an audience of your peers can be a super-scary experience. Don’t let a fear of public speaking hold you back from impressing your colleagues (and your boss). Here’s how to captivate your audience during your next work presentation.
1. Practice is the best preparation. They say ‘practice makes perfect’ for a reason – it really is the only reliable way to ensure that you feel cool, collected and confident when presenting. Don’t just read through your speech a few times and call it a day. Speaking out loud to yourself, your cat, or your BFF will help you refine your ideas and structure your presentation better. Ask your fake audience for honest feedback, and refine your presentation from there.
2. Present what your audience wants to know. You can be the most eloquent speaker in the world, but if your information isn’t interesting to your audience, your presentation won’t captivate them. Always ask yourself, ‘If I were a viewer, what would I want to know?’ Let your entire presentation answer that question. Every now and then, don’t be shy to pose the question to your audience out loud – and then tell them why the information you just presented matters to them.
3. Start off as strong as you can. You want to pull your audience in through your very first utterance. Two surefire ways to achieve this is by starting with a human-interest theme, or using an analogy to introduce your subject. It’s always good to make an abstract idea seem more real. Be wary of beginning your presentation with humour – every person is different, so while your hilarious anecdote will work on some people, the rest could be staring rather blankly in your direction.
4. Say it with slides. A PowerPoint presentation is the perfect way to keep your audience engaged and jog your own memory. Don’t bog your slides down with tons of information, as these will only act as a distraction. Remember, the graphics should only be adding value to your spoken words. What makes a good PowerPoint? Aim for minimal text, interesting graphics, and (useful) video clips.
5. Slow and steady. When you’re nervous, you tend to speak faster and not allow your words to sink in. Even when you’re freaking out, try your best to act confidently. Take a deep breath before you start to try and calm your nerves, and smile at your audience. Try to pause between each point you make – it allows the audience to absorb the information, and allows you to remind yourself of your next point.
6. Be yourself. What your mom’s been telling you your whole life could not be more true. Embrace the skills you already possess. Don’t try to be funny or try to be serious just for the sake of it, and let your personality dictate your presentation style. It’s one way to guarantee feeling as comfortable as possible when all eyes are on you.
This post was sponsored by Kellogg’s.