There are lots of reasons why you might need to give a presentation. Whether it’s for school, work, or any other event, you want things to go smoothly. If you’ve felt a bit uncomfortable presenting in the past, it’s time to get things right. Here’s what to do differently for your next presentation.
Start Things Right
The beginning of your presentation is going to set the tone for things to come. You don’t want to kick things off with a boring start. Think of something that will catch people’s attention. This might be a thought-provoking story or quote. It could also be a set of statistics that will set up the audience for what’s to follow.
Don’t get to the front of the room, then fumble and mumble your way into things. People will be asleep before they’ve even realized you’ve begun.
Don’t Hide Your Passion for the Subject
Some people think they need to temper their passion when giving a presentation. But this isn’t usually the case. In fact, you should be doing the exact opposite of this.
People are going to be more interested in what you’re saying if you’re showing interest in it yourself. Or, to put it another way, why should anyone care about your presentation if you don’t seem to be particularly interested?
Integrate Active Learning Techniques
The science is clear: Active learning is far more effective as a teaching method than passive techniques. If you want people to retain the information you present to them, you can’t just read off your notes.
Active learning is about getting people to participate in the process through things like discussions, sample questions, and other integrated activities. Mixing these things into your presentation will help your audience learn, while also keeping them engaged.
Use Tools That Engage People
Moving on from the previous point, PowerPoint and other slide shows are notorious for being the most passive teaching instruments. Sitting in a dark room while someone reads off slides isn’t enjoyable. This isn’t to say you can’t use slide shows at all; you just need to make them more useful for your audience.
You need to use tools that will provide value and boost engagement. Using a survey and polling app is a great way to go about this. There are many ways you can use interactive technology to get people interested in your presentation. Plug-ins like Poll Everywhere allow speakers to embed real-time surveys into presentation decks that people can then access directly through their mobile devices.
Frame Things the Right Way
You might have something interesting and unique to tell the world. But it’s not going to matter if you go about telling people about it in the wrong way.
Framing is one of the most important things to consider when preparing for a presentation. Think about what you ultimately want people to take away from your talk. It’s also essential to think about the audience’s perspective. What are they going to retain from the things you say?
Once you’ve done this, you can start framing your presentation. By establishing the most important takeaways first, you can then work backwards and create a roadmap for guiding people to key realizations.
Practice Delivery and Body Language
You wouldn’t go take a driving test without getting behind the wheel a few times first. And if you did try to do this, you would almost certainly fail. Improvement comes from practice. Giving a great presentation is no exception to this rule.
Run through the presentation exactly how you plan to do it in real life. This might feel silly, but it’s the only way you’re going to get it right. Consider things like the volume, tone, and speed of your voice. What are you going to do with your hands? Don’t leave them in your pockets or fidgeting with something. Additionally, practicing will take out some of the nerves that come with giving a presentation.
It’s tough to get up and speak in front of a crowd. But it’s not impossible. You can improve your next presentation by implementing these strategies.
By: Simon Horton