You just found out the big news: you've been asked to speak in public! It might be a training seminar, or a presentation to colleagues. Can you feel your heart racing? Relax! There's no need to panic.
Whether you're new to public speaking or just a little rusty, you can deliver an impressive presentation by following some simple steps. We’ll give you some useful and easy tips to make your presentation a success.
Tip 1: Know your material
Nothing helps ease the fear of public speaking better than knowing your material. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, chances are you will feel nervous. The ability to connect with your audience is all about confidence and knowing what it is you’re talking about. So remember to do your research!
Tip 2: Practice makes perfect
No matter how experienced you are, there’s no denying a very simple and effective rule to giving a great presentation, practice - practice - practice. Practising your presentation will get you familiarised with the flow, rhythm and structure. When you know your presentation word for word there’s less chance of blunders and awkward ‘ums’ or ‘errs’.
It’s also a great idea to practise in front of someone who isn’t familiar about the topic of the presentation. This way you can find out whether or not your presentation has been effective.
Tip 3: Engage the audience
If you're going to read what's on your slide to your audience, you might as well just give them the slides to read themselves. Instead, speak to the audience, as an introduction to your message, using the points on slides as a reference. Encourage interaction by questioning the audience, or engaging them with an activity that requires participation. This will keep them on their toes and interested in what you have to say next.
Making your presentation engaging means you have a captivated audience that wants to listen and learn about the things you say.
Tip 4: Timing is everything
When you’re asked to speak at any event, you probably will have plenty of ideas and topics you want to get across. However it’s important to note that timing is key to a great presentation. Whether it is the timing of your whole presentation, or the amount of time you allocate to each topic, ensure it’s not too long so that you don’t lose your audience’s attention. Remember to factor in extra time for audience’s comments or questions during your presentation.
It's important to remember that very few people are truly confident when presenting, so you're not alone! Your audience will be willing you to do well, and will be empathising with you. They want you to do well! Try and use that knowledge to help you calm down, and focus on providing them with key information in an interesting and memorable way.