To have a good presentation, there aren’t much that goes into it but a lot of people get absolutely nervous when they have to present in front of people, whether it is for a class presentation, a speech, pitching an idea or promoting a product. Whatever it is, presenting in front of people can be very daunting. It places us in the spotlight of vulnerability and giving ourselves over to the possibilities of being judged. At least, that’s the mentality we most have, when we think of presenting. We always assume the person is going to laugh at us, have all these negative ideas towards us while we’re presenting and in turn, that affects the overall presentation. In fact, it’s really a simple form of a self-fulfilling prophecy; where as you believe it so much, it soon enough happens anyways.
I am not a presentation expert, or some inspirational speaker of any kind, but I have overcome the fear of presenting and to be frank, never came off as if I was afraid to present. In fact, people come up to me or ask how it is that I seem so confident when I am presenting. How is it that I am not afraid of presenting. All I say to them, is that there isn’t anything really to it. But, I have learned that over the years and although I have never portrayed being afraid of presenting, I used to be back in the day. Nowadays, a few little tips have helped me get over that fear and actually become a very good presenter. This post of mine, is going to just highlight some of the tips that I have used on myself, which have helped me improve my presentation skills and also subside the feeling of fear while doing them.
1. Learn and be familiar with the topic that you are going to discuss
This is pretty self explanatory. If you are familiar with the information that you are presenting, it will come across as if you’re just discussing the topic with someone like your friend or your family member. Having that confidence in your topic, gives you that relief that when you are presenting and aren’t just reading off the slides, that you can pull information from your head and be accurate about it.
2. Practice your presentation
A very simple tip to improve your presentation skills, is actually practicing the whole presentation. Either do it in front of others so you can get comfortable with speaking to a crowd or do it in front of a mirror. Go through the presentation as you would if you were presenting it to your class or whoever it may be. If you are planning to use cue cards, this is a good time to start writing them out so that you can prompt yourself when necessary.
3. Speak and present your thoughts in a very slow and controlled manner
A lot of times, when people are presenting, they want to just rush through it and get the presentation over with. When doing this, you actually start stumbling, mumbling and possibly mixing up your thoughts and this in turn can make you feel even more nervous. Instead, present your ideas and thoughts in a slow and concise manner so that you can provide your audience with all the information in a very coherent manner.
4. Don’t read from the slides
This isn’t really something to help with the nervousness but it is more to help with having a good presentation over all. The truth is, we all can read, so if you choose to read the words off of the slides, we’re going to wonder if you have a misunderstanding on that part of our ability to read and comprehend words. So instead of reading to us like we’re little kids, speak on the idea or point that you have on the slides and then elaborate on it. It is okay to read what is there and provide more information but it isn’t okay go read off the slide and then move onto another one.
5. Keep eye contact with your audience
You want to engage with your audience and keeping eye contact with them is a very good way to do just that. It makes each person feel as if you are personally speaking to them and they may actually feel inclined to actually pay attention if you are constantly making eye contact with everyone in the room.
6. Include an attention getter in the beginning of your presentation
Whether this is a video, a picture or whatever it may be. You want to capture your audience attention from the get go, so they keep interested throughout the presentation. A good video, can do just that. Get them engaged in the topic and willing to continue to pay attention. Just starting off a presentation immediately, with the information can be very boring and you could lose a lot of your audience very quickly.
When I have a presentation, I keep a lot of these tips in mind, so that when the day of the presentation comes around I am ready to impress. I make sure to give eye contact with the audience, I speak very slowly and articulately. I make sure that if I make a mistake, I don’t apologize to the audience but just correct my mistake immediately. Apologizing to your audience makes them think you don’t know what you are talking about and probably weren’t interested in the topic at hand anyways. If you seem to be disinterested, so would the audience.
I hope these little tips can help you guys because I know how it was to feel very nervous about presenting in front of people. It’s a very scary thing but you can improve on your skills quickly. Also remember, no one can really tell if you are nervous, unless you bring across that behavior. You can easily fake the confidence and in the end, you will realize no one is looking to bite your head off or judge you. They are there to hear what you have to say, so provide them that information. They feel you are knowledgeable or at least have done your own research, so they trust the information that is coming out of your mouth. Whether it be for a speech, or a regular presentation, they want to hear what you have to say.
So next time, try these tips and see how you perform. In time, you will see there’s absolutely nothing to it.