How to Give a Presentation
Giving a presentation terrifies most of us, especially when talking before a crowd of people about an unfamiliar topic. Never fear! There are ways to make a good presentation. The more presentations you do, the easier they will become!
Part 1 of 2: Preparing For the Presentation
- Focus your presentation. Having a long, rambling presentation that is hard to follow is not going to win you any audience interest. You need to make sure that your presentation is clear and focused and that any asides you throw into it are there to back up the main point.
- Less is more. You don't want to overwhelm your audience with information and important points. Even if they're interested in your topic they'll starting spacing out and then you've lost them. You need to stick to your 3 points and overall point and you need to make sure that you only use the information that you need to support and clarify those points. Pick your very best supporting facts, information, or quotes for your presentation. Don't bury your audience in information.
- Decide whether to use media or not. Make sure you're using media to enhance your presentation and not to drown it out. The presentation is key. Anything else is just accessorizing.
- Practice. This is one that for some reason, lack of time perhaps, people neglect to do and it is absolutely key to giving a good presentation. Running through the presentation before the actual event gives you time work out any kinks or problems with your notes and with your technology and makes the presentation itself go more smoothly.
- Visualize success. It may seem like a silly thing to do, but visualizing a successful presentation can actually help you achieve a successful presentation. You'll be more inclined towards success if you've been prepping your brain for it. So beforehand, sit somewhere quietly for a few minutes and picture the presentation going well.
- Dress appropriately. You want to dress for success. Wearing nicer clothes can help get you into the mindset of giving a good presentation. You also want to be comfortable, however, so you should try to find a reasonable medium between dressing super snazzy and dressing comfortably.
Part 2 of 2: Giving the Presentation
- Deal with the nervousness. Pretty much everyone gets nervous about presenting, even when it isn't in front of a bunch of people. That's okay. All you have to do is mask the fact that you're nervous, since you won't be able to avoid the jitters themselves.
- Engage the audience. One way to make your presentation memorable and interesting is to interact with your audience. Don't act like there's a wall between you and your audience, engage them in the material. Talk directly to them, not at them or at the back wall, but to your audience.
- Give an engaging performance. Giving an engaging performance isn't the exact same thing as engaging your audience (although, hopefully, your performance will engage your audience). It simply means that you make the performance itself interesting and dynamic.
- Treat your presentation as a story. To get your audience's interest you'll need to connect them with the material on an emotional level and the best way to do that is to think of your presentation like a story you're telling.
- Talk more slowly. One of the most frequent things that people do to sabotage their own presentation is talking way too quickly and so many people make this mistake. They get nervous and they whip through their presentation, leaving the audience gasping at the tidal wave of information.
- Have a killer closing. The beginning and the closing of a presentation are the parts that people tend to remember, so you want to make sure that you end with a punch to the gut (figuratively speaking; don't hit your audience). You'll need to reiterate those 3 most important points and make sure the listener knows why they should care about your topic.
The following infographic may help with the structure and timing of a presentation.
Some more tips about body language here
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