How to Give Your Best Presentation
We’ve all heard about studies showing that public speaking is bigger fear than death for most people. When you process that, it’s a really bold statistic. Even comedian Jerry Seinfeld addressed the issue in one of his skits as he said, “…you are better off in a casket than doing the eulogy.” It’s a pretty chilling statement. But don’t worry, there’s a brighter side coming to this blog and it’s about to start!
Although there’s no magic fairy dust to melt away your anxiety about public speaking, you can ease some of your worries away with these helpful tips to make your next presentation an A-plus:
As cliché as it sounds, practicing is vital to avoiding a dud presentation. Do your homework and prepare a day or two before your big meeting. Record yourself to play back what you sound like, and figure out where you need to improve. Although presentation is about speechmaking, it’s also about charisma, so make sure you stand in front of a mirror while you’re practicing and work on your game face!
Nervous talking equates to speed talking, which means if you’re nervous, chances are you’re probably talking faster than you think. Consciously remind yourself throughout your speech to slow down and talk at a normal pace, and pause when needed. Remember to project your voice and enunciate so your audience gets your message loud and clear.
Generally, your ideas come with a story behind them, so be a storyteller! Don’t bore the audience by reading bullet point after bullet point (something that should never be done in the first place). Captivate them by telling the story of the idea. Your passion for your idea will show when you present it in this way, making your audience engage even more.
Don’t just pick a target to lock eyes with. Be sure you make eye contact with with everyone in the room—however, make sure it’s at a reasonable rate. Darting eyes can be a little distracting and awkward, while staring will make your audience think you’re bored or uninterested in your own work.
Try to have fun with your presentation, and engage your audience by being entertaining. We’re not suggesting you put on a juggling performance act, but your speech should be informative with some appropriate humor, visuals, and maybe even questions to your audience to keep your speech from going dry and your presentees from disengaging their attention.
Be honest with your audience. If you don’t have an answer at the time, it’s okay to say, “That’s a really good question. Let me think about it and get back to you,” or “Let me do some research on that and follow up after this meeting.” Your audience will appreciate that rather you making something up or saying the first thing that comes to mind.
Should your presentation by made in Powerpoint or another slideshow program, according to Guy Kawasaki, it should have no more than 10 slides, should last 20 minutes or less, and should have text at no less than 30-point font for optimum readability. He claims that it doesn’t matter if your idea will revolutionize the world or not, as long as you highlight the important information and communicate it clearly.
Feeling better about giving your next presentation? Remember to relax, breathe, and have fun. (Believe us—with practice, it is possible.)
Do you have any stellar presentation tips of your own? Share them in the comments or on our social media channels! We’d love to hear from you.