“This presentation is so boring and forever-taking”. It crosses everyone’s mind at least once, doesn’t it? Sometimes the topic is not so catchy or the voice of the speaker is too dreary. It even could happen that the PowerPoint doesn’t work or you have completely blanked on the well-prepared speech.
So, what can one do to avoid awkward situations like these and become a “presentation genius”? In this article, you can find some useful tips and recommendations to master your performance.
The first step is to decide on the slides and the flow of your presentation. This is more of a “less is more” situation. You should aim to avoid the “100-slides-presentation” unless it is really necessary. The slides should not grab auditoria’s full attention; therefore, for example, some presenters even prefer not to have them at all.
One more advice is not to bring too much of creativity to your presentation. Of course, it is better to learn how Keynote or PowerPoint works but you can use the templates that have been already prepared by designers and edit them according to your needs. There are some common-knows as, for instance, not to use more than three colors and that the size of letters should be at least 25 pt.
Try not to make your presentation too complicated. Keep in mind that every sophisticated picture’s appearance distracts your audience. Your slide should have the heading, number, and main text part. It will help the listener, for example, to refer to the slide number, without checking each of them to find the right one. Personally, I would highly recommend participating in Accenture Case Workshop (course number is A365A0711) to learn and train more.
Secondly, you should study how to use your voice in the best way. It will be difficult for a listener to stay focused on your talking if there is no change in your voice volume at all. Don’t be afraid to go deeper with you voice before stating something important or pause it to highlight and draw the attention. Silent parts are the great signals to the audience.
However, try to avoid saying too many “a-ha”, “okay” or “um”, because these filler words do not bring any real value to the sentence. If you are not about to repeat this mistake I will suggest the technique presented by Dr. Neal Hartman (United States). You should record your presentation, then watch and listen to it. At the third watch, count how many times you have used the filler words. You can then deal with this issue and decrease the number of unnecessary filler words in your speech.
One more important aspect of your presentation is the way you move. It will be great if you are not staying frozen during your speech. However, don’t forget about the slides, as your shadow might block out the light from the projector and the audience won’t be able to see what is on the slide.
The presenter should maintain eye contact, too. At the beginning of your presentation, scan the audience and find the few people who are interested in your speech. After that, you can smile at them or keep them engaged. That, in practice, will help to make your performance smoother.
And don’t forget about your facial expression! Smile! Even if you don’t feel like doing it. It will show your confidence in what you are talking about. Of course, the presenter must keep his hands out of pockets and not make overly large gestures that can be distracting. Where to put your hands? Just put them back in a comfortable way!
One more amazing, proven to work method from Dr. Hartman is how to calm your nerves before a presentation. Just as you are a few minutes from starting you should put your hands up ten times. Done? Now put your one leg up five times. Yep? Then it is time for your second leg! After that, give yourself six slow, deep breaths and you are ready to begin!
The writer is a master student from Belarus, adventure seeker and life enthusiast, passionate about the environment.