Is this your first presentation? Your tenth? Your twentieth? Whatever the number, there is always room for improvement. So, how can you go about improving the quality of your presentations?
What Is a Presentation?
A presentation is a way of communicating information to a group of people. It can be an interview process, speaking to a large group at a conference, giving a speech, conducting a seminar, a lecture for students, a sales presentation and much more. What they all have in common is an audience that has come to hear what the speaker has to say.
Each presentation may have a different audience participating, but the key is to meet the needs of the group. You are not speaking for you but for them. What do they want to hear? What did they come to receive from you? These are important questions to ask and also to answer in order to improve your presentations in the future.
Feedback is a powerful tool for any presenter. Whether it is in the form of a survey completed after the presentation or at the end of the semester’s class, the information that a feedback tool contains is invaluable to making the next one even better. Everyone could use some constructive criticism from time to time. It keeps us on our toes.
Here are some helpful hints for improving your presentation skills.
Take a class – If you are deathly afraid of speaking and it is an essential part of your job or business, try Toastmasters or a public speaking class. Both can provide you with the necessary skills to build your confidence and abilities.
Ask for feedback – As stated above, feedback tools provide valuable information. Have them prepared ahead of time to be filled out after a presentation. Because no one will feel like writing a dissertation after a seminar, give them out at the beginning so the audience can ponder them during the presentation. Using a number rating system also increases the likelihood they will be completed.
Keep it simple – No one said that a presentation had to have a hundred moving parts. For instance, keep slides to a minimum with an easy-to-read font. Tell your audience what you will be discussing so they know what to expect. Present relevant bullet points in the beginning and stick to them.
Engage your audience – They will be sitting there for 30 or more minutes. Give them something to do besides listen. Involve all of their senses within your presentation. Make them the focus of the presentation.
Give facts not folly – People respond to concrete facts, not speculation. Offer them solid information in a unique and fun way. This will help them to remember it later.
What can you do to improve your next presentation? Start with the suggestions given above.