Luckily, there are experts who can help people like me to improve presentation skills as well as communication skills in the workplace. Why? Because one of the first things that the marketing firm I work for asked me to do was present the research that I had done on a project and when it was time for me to speak I totally froze. My mind blanked out to the point that I forgot the name of the company that I was presenting and couldn’t even remember what the company did. Here are some tips that I got from Exec Comm which offers public speaking courses which can help any woman who needs more advice than ‘imagine everyone in their underwear’ when giving a presentation.
Do Your Research- Go into detail in your research as if you were planning to become an expert in it. The more you know, the better you’re prepared.
Add Humor- No matter what you’re about to discuss, it’s important to add humor to your speech from time to time because humor brings new energy and raises interest in what you’re trying to communicate.
Practice Makes Perfect- Before your presentation practice what you’re going to say over and over again until you know it inside out. Imagine your audience is sitting in front of you and try to imagine some of the questions that they may have so that you will be prepared to answer them. Use a timer to make sure that you’re on track time wise.
Testing- Make sure that any audio or visual equipment that you have works before you get up to speak. No one wants to watch you fiddle around and you will lose a lot of the attention that you have worked so hard to gain.
Know Your Audience- Who is listening to your presentation? A client? Your colleagues? You should know who you’re presenting to so that you understand what they want to know from you. A client may want to know how to improve their business while your colleagues may want to learn about your progress.
Relax- Before you walk into the room, take a minute to calm yourself and imagine your success. If you are calm and believe that you will succeed, you will!
Don’t Read Directly From The Note Cards- While you may feel the need to read from your note cards, people like it when you make eye contact. Your arguments will hold water if you look like you know what you’re talking about so keep your eyes on the audience and look at your notes from time to time or for reference only.
Take Your Time- Sometimes people start rambling when they get nervous. If you’re one of those people you need to get a hold of yourself and slow down a bit. You should speak at the same pace as you would when having a normal conversation.
Watch Yourself- One of the best ways to improve is to tape yourself when presenting a project. This way, you can go back and listen to or watch the tape and get ideas on how to improve. Is your presentation too long, too dry, do you say ‘um’ or ‘like’ too much?
Listen- One of the best ways to learn about your audience and to prepare a presentation is to listen to what your audience has to say. Listening will also make it clear that you care about your audience as much as you care about being heard.
With some hard work and patience, you’ll be a great speaker and communicator in no time.