Top 10 Tips for Effective Presentation Skills

Written by on October 25, 2012 in Career - No comments | Print this page

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Developing your presentation skills should be an essential part of a career. A good presentation style can make you stand out within the workplace, while allowing you to demonstrate your specialist knowledge of a subject. Having a good presentation style can also make it possible to improve confidence in the workplace, and avoid anxiety about not being able to get points across. When developing skills for presentations, it is important to think about issues such as clarity, practice, body language, and preparation. The following list represents some tips to follow when improving your presentation skills:

1 – Have Specific Goals and Simple Key Points

An effective presentation should only have two or three main points, which should be set up in the Introduction, and repeated in the Conclusion. Overloading your audience with information or concepts within a short presentation will only make them lose concentration and interest. If you have a particularly complex idea, try to break it down into something that can be clearly expressed in a few minutes.

2 – Prepare for Questions and Answer Sessions in the Right Way

Expect there to be some difficult questions, and make sure you have researched a topic enough to be able to confidently respond to different challenges. Be prepared to enter into a dialogue, and don’t take criticism as a personal attack.

3 – Understand Your Audience

Know who is expected to be at the presentation, and tailor your talk accordingly. Don’t assume that an audience will know the basics of what you are talking about, and try to avoid overloading them with jargon. At the same time, don’t oversimplify if you have an audience who are very familiar with the work you are doing.

4 – Keep Things Short and On Time

One of the cardinal mistakes of presenters is to go over their allotted time. Audience members will notice, and will get uncomfortable. You also risk annoying others if you are part of a presentation panel. Time your presentation, and make sure if possible that you are under your time before beginning. Any extra time can be used to slow down and insert more pauses.

5 – Develop Back Up Plans

Things sometimes go wrong in a presentation, from technical failures to timing. If you do run into these problems, make sure that you won’t panic, but have backup plans. Paper handouts are worth bringing along if a Powerpoint crashes, while you have to be prepared to speed through some parts of a presentation if you’re running out of time.

6 – Use Body Language

Body language can be very effective in presentations when used correctly. Try to stand during the presentation, and emphasise key points with hand gestures.

7 – Make Direct Eye Contact

Making direct eye contact with a few people in the room will make it easier to concentrate, especially if you are dealing with a large audience.

8 – Avoid Detailed Powerpoints

Too much information and displays can be distracting, and can make an audience wonder why they need to have it presented directly to them. Keep Powerpoints simple, and try to avoid dense amounts of text or figures.

9 – Recap

It won’t hurt to spend any extra time at the end of a presentation explaining what you have just spoken about, why it is important, and what key points you have tried to make.

10 – Arrive At A Room Early

Make sure that you have all of your notes and displays ready before people arrive. Don’t waste time trying to get a Powerpoint working, or logging into a computer when the audience is already seated and waiting for a presentation to begin.

This is a guest post.  Take your public speaking o the next level, inspire confidence and create impact via Speak First’s effective presentation skills courses available throughout the UK.

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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