The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.
~ Lilly Walters
You have amazing information to present and are eager to share it with others. Great information equals a great presentation, right? Sadly, no! The reality is it won’t matter how great your information is, if you don’t present it effectively. Following are seven tips to improve your presentation skills, to ensure your next presentation is a success.
Say it Three Times – If you want to make sure your main points get across during your presentation, be sure to say them three times. This can be summed up as – Tell your audience what you’re going to tell them, in an introduction. Tell them the information in the body of the presentation. Lastly, sum up what you’ve told them, by telling your audience again your main points, in the conclusion.
Memorize Your Main Points, Not Your Presentation – This is not a Shakespearan monologue. To improve your presentation skills, there is no reason to memorize every single word you’re going to say in your presentation. Instead, memorize the main points of the information you want to get across. You should have a mental outline in your head, then talk to your audience, not at them.
Go Visual – People retain information best in a variety of ways. Some are auditory learners, where they pick up new information easily by listening. Some, however, are visual learners. If you want to improve your presentation skills, use this knowledge to your advantage! Include a PowerPoint presentation, charts or other visual aids to really drive home your key points.
This is Not Karaoke – Although a PowerPoint presentation is a great visual aid, do not put every single word you’re going to say up on the screen. Your audience should be listening to you, not reading along with you. Your slides should be used to emphasize the main points of your presentation, as well as show images of examples of your topic and/or figures and charts – items that may be harder for the audience to immediately visualize.
Watch Your Time – When talking about something you’re knowledgeable or passionate about, it’s easy to lose track of time. However, your audience may become bored and start to tune you out. To improve your presentation skills, keep your presentation moving and keep it to a reasonable length of time.
Watch Your Pace – It’s natural to be nervous before a presentation. However, one common thing that happens to many nervous speakers is they talk too fast. Take a deep breath, before beginning. Relax and speak a little slower than you would normally. This will not only give your audience time to process what you’re saying, as you say it, but it will also help ensure you enunciate your words clearly, instead of mumbling due to speaking too quickly.
Practice Makes Perfect – Although you don’t want to memorize your entire presentation, if you want to improve your presentation skills, you do want to practice it a few times. As Mark Twain once said, “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” Practice in front of someone, and ask for their feedback. What points could you clarify more? What could you have done better? What did you do well?
About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert
CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.
Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.