CAREER ADVANCEMENT / JUL. 16, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Good presentation skills are a valuable asset, and not just in your professional life. Being able to speak in front of others and give coherent, organised presentations will help you to be more confident when speaking with a crowd of people or even one member of the opposite sex. No matter who you are, it’s important to improve your presentation skills.

 So how can you do so?

  1. Find your strengths -- Are you great at delivering one-line jokes? Do you ad-lib well? Are you animated when you know what you’re talking about? Think about the areas of communication where you are most effective, and build your presentation around that. It will help you be more confident in your speaking abilities.
  2. Do it regularly -- Want to get better at giving presentations? Give them at every opportunity you have, and you’ll find that repetition will help to improve your skills. It will be tough at first, but over time you’ll find it gets much easier.
  3. Work backwards -- What’s the purpose of your presentation? Is it to inform, entertain, or present a new product? Figure out how you want your presentation to end, and work backwards from there to find the beginning. It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s one of the most effective ways of writing a presentation.
  4. Find the balance between memorising and "winging it"-- If you memorise the presentation, it may come out dull, dry, and sounding rehearsed. If you don’t memorise it at all but just "wing it", you’ll find that the presentation is usually pretty hard to get through properly. Find a balance between the two. Don’t recite it from memory, but do commit the most important parts of your presentation to mind.
  5. KISS -- This is a simple anagram for "Keep It Simple, Stupid". The most important thing to remember is to keep your presentation simple. You don’t need to talk for hours, but just highlight the most important points. Use a PowerPoint if you need to, but keep it as simple as possible.
  6. Practice -- If you want to become a good presenter, you’ll need to practice it often. Stand in front of the mirror and watch yourself as you deliver your presentation. See how your face moves, how you gesture, and how you stand. Try to fix the problems with your presentation so that when it comes time to make the pitch, you can do it properly.
  7. Ask questions -- When making a presentation, fill it with questions that get the audience to think. Great presenters ask 16 questions to the average person’s 6, so don’t you agree that questions are the best way to convince people to share your opinion?
  8. Use body language effectively -- Remember, communication is only 40% oral, while the rest comes from your body language. Make sure that you speak clearly, but let your body do a lot of the talking for you! Spend time improving your body language, and you’ll improve your presentation skills drastically!

It takes a lot of hard work to become a good presenter, so it’s in your best interest to invest as much time and effort as you can into improving your presentation skills!

 

Image Source: www.fortresslearning.com.au

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