Communication Skills: Tips to improve your presentation skills
Delivering a presentation can be enough to drive fear into even the most rational and positive thinking people, yet it need not be the terrifying ordeal we often make it out to be. Here are some tips that will improve your presentation skills, enabling you to prepare and deliver your presentation with confidence:
Phase 1 – Plan:
Before you go anywhere near PowerPoint, consider the following five questions:
- Why am I delivering this presentation and what are my Objectives?
- Who are my audience, what do they already know and what do I need them to know?
- Where will I be presenting and what are the logistics I need to consider?
- What style is required? How formal is the presentation and how will this be reflected
- What do I need to say, i.e. what are the key messages that I need to land?
Phase 2 – Design:
Having answered the questions from phase 1, you are now ready to put the presentation together. The key here is to remember the rule of three – it may not have escaped your attention that there are three phases to delivering an effective presentation! Therefore:
- Tell them what you are going to tell them – introduction
- Tell them – main body
- Tell them what you have told them – conclusion
Interestingly the main body can also be broken into three phases, according to the type of presentation you are looking to deliver. For example, for a sales presentation you may wish to outline:
- The clients current position
- The possible options available to the client
- Your recommended proposal
Alternatively, if you are delivering an update or review, you may wish to outline:
- Past – where we have been
- Present – where we are now
- Future – where we are going
Phase 3 – Practice:
Like most fears, the fear of delivering a presentation is quite irrational and can be controlled. George Bernard Shaw sums it up quite well by saying “I am the most spontaneous speaker in the world because every word, every gesture, and every retort has been carefully rehearsed.”
The first time you deliver your presentation should not be live in front of your intended audience. Whether you practice in front of the mirror, film yourself using a tablet device or camera, or ask a trusted friend to give you honest advice, ensure that by the time you deliver, you know exactly what you are going to say and how it will come across.