Presentations can be nerve-wracking at the best of times, even for experienced public speakers. It can be difficult to gauge what to say and do to keep the audience interested – which can be a problem when the information being presented is important to the productivity of an office or the success of a project.
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to make sure your presentation keeps your audience interested.
• Try to illustrate your points using stories. A narrative flows more smoothly and will keep an audience engaged so they will be more likely to absorb and understand one’s points.
• Memorize the presentation. People will be much more engaged if they feel you’re speaking to them rather than reading to them. If you need something to jog your memory while you’re giving the presentation, write bullet points on note cards.
• Develop your physical presence. Excessive movement is a sign of nervousness and it is distracting. Use your hands to speak, but try not to move your entire body too much. And don’t underestimate the importance of eye contact.
• Be creative with your multimedia. Use it to complement your points with graphs, images, and additional information or trivia. You want people to listen to you, not spend the whole presentation focusing on your PowerPoint slides.
• Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Run through your presentation to yourself in the mirror a few times, then practice in front of small groups so you know you’ll be able to perform under pressure.
Remember, the most important part of the presentation is the content. Make sure that what you have to say is important, engaging, and memorable. Keep it tight and try not to cram in too much information.
What are your tips for giving good presentations? Do you have any horror stories about presentations gone awry? Let us know in the comments.