Presentation Skills - How to Ensure That You Hold Your Audience
Presentation skills are one of the toughest to master.
21:23 03 April 2019
You will find successful career people who have worked for years but when it comes to presentation, be it reports, new ideas or even discussions, struggling. Then there are others who just seem to have a flair for it they can take to any stage and hold an audience from beginning to end without breaking a sweat, and at the end of every presentation they elicit questions and interest in their chosen topic. Does this mean that some people are born presenters while others aren't? Not quite, presentation skills can be mastered, companies out there like Lion Presentation Ltd for example who help people every day with producing products for presentations, and even if you aren't very good at holding an audience now you can improve with a few tips and enough practice. Read on to find out what you can do:
This is the hardest part of mastering presentation skills. If you are not confident by nature how can you suddenly become so confident that you are able to do presentations? It is not easy. You will need to tackle the source of your shyness - what is it that you fear about others? What makes you feel so self conscious when you are standing in front of an audience? What is it that you fear so much? A lot of the things that you are worried about aren't real - any good orator will tell you that much. So long as you are familiar and passionate about your subject matter it will come through to your audience and they will listen to you attentively. If confidence is a really big problem for you a therapist may be of help. They can help you work through the issues that make you feel self conscious.
Know your subject matter
We briefly touched on this in the last point, It is incredibly important to know your subject matter as well as possible because it is the only way that you can speak confidently about it. You can learn many different presentation tips but if you don't know what you will be talking about they will not be useful. It is important to take some time before your presentation to go through the material that you will be presenting and ensure that you know it very well.
Think about your audience
One of the biggest secretes on how to do a presentation is to know your audience. Audiences differ is so many different ways. They can be different because of their level of education, their amount of experience, their age, their country, their state, their gender and so much more. When you know who you are talking to you are able to tailor your language so that you can communicate with them. If, for example, you are talking to a group of MBA's and you oversimplify your language you will not be able to hold their attention for long. If you are talking to teenagers you need to find a way to connect with them. If it is possible you should find out as much as you can about your audience so that you can have presentation skills to match.
Keep your message simple and on point
Have you ever sat through a presentation where the speaker uses complex words and language that is hard to break down? Where they keep straying from the topic and you have a difficult time following their train of thought? One of the most important presentation skills that you can master is to keep your message simple and to the point. Write out your presentation on index cards and ask someone else to read it and give you an opinion before you go before your audience. Take any feedback that you get, especially regarding simplicity, seriously.
Talk to your audience
This seems like a silly thing to say...of course when you are doing a presentation you are talking to your audience. There is talking and then there is talking. You can get on the dais and read through your index cards and be done with your presentation, or you can actually talk to your audience like you are talking to people. Look at them and don't fix your gaze on any one spot. Use facial expressions and tone of voice to emphasize points. Let your audience feel what you feel and by the end of your presentation you will get a standing ovation.
Always start strong
One of the most important presentation tips is on how to start a presentation - always start strong. A string start will ensure that your audience takes you seriously. Wait for everyone in the room to be quiet before you get started. If they don't settle down quickly ask them to be quiet - you have the floor, so don't be afraid. Make sure that you start in a way that is interesting.
Keep things brief
Today's attention spans are shorter than ever before. People are distracted by all sorts of things on their mobile devices and the longer you talk, the more they disconnect and move on to other things. When you are preparing a presentation you should keep it short and succinct - keep only the main points, a few elaborations and allow the audience to ask you questions at the end. At that point you can add further explanations that may be asked of you, but you will not have kept your audience captive for hours with long speeches.
People connect with stories much better than they do with lots and lots of facts and figures. If there is a way you can use storytelling to get your point across you should - you will find that your audience is much more receptive and they will better understand what you are trying to communicate. Use stories that are relevant and relatable for even more effect.
These simple presentation tips can help you go a long way in improving how you communicate with audiences. Remember, the more presentations you do the better you become at it. If it doesn't go well the first few times you shouldn't despair - over time you will improve.
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