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Archive for presentation skills

Top 7 Tips to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

Whether you do a great deal of public speaking because you’re in sales or you’re a supervisor–or both–either way you want to get your message across effectively. You might be a CEO who simply wants to improve public speaking skills to increase your credibility.

As a speaker who has delivered more than 1, 100 programs in 48 states and five countries, I can tell you that 95% of the success of your presentation is determined before you present. Good preparation reduces performance problems. And one of the best investments of your time is to practice delivering dramatic stories. It’s a secret ingredient in improving public speaking skills.

Gaining awareness is also important because you want to know how you’re being perceived. Armed with new insights, this will help you to be better prepared for your next presentation.

Short on time? Here are 2 quick tips for improving public speaking skills:

1) Great speakers engage listeners and help audience members relate to them by telling stories and using analogies. People respond positively to vivid images and pictures. They rarely remember all your words.

Your closing is the most important thing that stands out in your audience’s mind. Why? Because it’s what they hear last. Your opening is the second most important thing that stands out in your audience’s mind. So open and close with strong visual images that relate to your presentation’s main message, and that connect to your audience’s needs. Connecting with your audience is key!

Another reason memorable stories are one of the best tools for improving public speaking skills is because you are involving the senses of your audience members. Narratives help your listeners make a movie in their heads by using appropriate humor, drama, and suspense. More than that, it keeps them awake.

2) Gain awareness. To reduce public speaking anxiety in the future, you need to find out how you’re currently perceived. Notice how people respond to you. In my public speaking seminars, I have the participants write down their  “liked best’s” and “next time’s” when they’re observing one of the attendees practicing a presentation.

Don’t be afraid to ask for honest feedback from colleagues you trust. Write down their comments so that you’ll remember what you did well and what to work on next time.

You’ve read just a couple of the tips I give when working with individuals and teams on improving public speaking skills. I also believe one of the most important ways to overcome nervousness with public speaking is through practice.

If you’re interested in a consultation (at no charge) to see if I can help you achieve your goals, please call me. My toll free office number is (800)323-0683 and (623)340-7690 locally in Phoenix, Arizona. Or, you can send me a brief email at  Thank you.

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace employee management expert, award-winning speaker, and speech coach. She has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 articles on diverse workplace issues. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books.