Whether you’re presenting at a trade show, webinar, conference, or giving a sales demonstration, giving a solid presentation is a crucial skill to master and add to your strategies. However, if you are part of the 74 percent of people who suffer from speech anxiety (glossophobia), these opportunities may seem incredibly daunting. With some solid preparation before your presentation and a few tricks to master while giving one, any professional can master the art of public speaking.
Define Your Audience
Sociolinguistics is the study of how people talk differently depending on their social situations. For example, you likely talk with your child differently than you talk with your doctor. Furthermore, you communicate with your clients differently than you do with your leads and competitors. When giving a presentation, knowing your audience is key. You’ll want to spend some time defining who you are talking to. By defining your audience, you’ll be able to include more relevant information, communicate in a suitable tone, and connect substantially better with them to convey your content and purpose.
Develop Valuable Content
In order to deliver an effective presentation, you’ll have to provide valuable content to your audience. While developing your content, you’ll have to determine what the purpose of your presentation is. What do you want your audience to do with this information? What do you want them to take away from this presentation? Dig deep and provide rich information about your subject matter along with practical implementation tips specifically tailored to your audience. Your audience will be able to tell if you put time into this step or not, and they’ll appreciate a well thought out and informative presentation.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You can never over-practice for a presentation. Once you’ve come up with solid content and an organizational flow for your presentation, it’s time to sit down and thoroughly review it. When you’re familiar with the content, rehearse the presentation out loud to yourself. If you are presenting live in front of an audience, you can take this a step further and get in front of a mirror to practice your physical expressions.
After you feel comfortable with the presentation on your own, run through it with colleagues and supervisors. This is good practice for two reasons. First, it helps you experience what the presentation will feel like in front of a live audience. Second, it allows for quality critique of your content and presentation by your trusted co-workers. Once you’ve made revisions based on their suggestions, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to rehearse with them again.
Take Notes from Your Favorite Speakers
Obviously your presentation style will depend on your personality and level of comfort while speaking to a group of people. However, one of the best ways to perfect any art form, including public speaking, is to identify artists who you admire, and start mimicking their style. In terms of public speaking, find a few dynamic speakers who you enjoy listening to. In your practice time, slowly try to incorporate the qualities that you like from these speeches into yours. Pay attention to their use of humor, vocal inflection, facial expressions, and other non-verbal characteristics that could enhance your communication skills. If you don’t know where to start looking, visit www.ted.com, where you’ll find unlimited amounts of amazing speakers presenting on an array of extremely interesting and relevant topics.
This week, we covered how you can best prepare for your presentations. Next week’s tip will contain information on how you can deliver the most effective presentations possible. As always, stay tuned for the best productivity and technology tips from Tektonic by subscribing to our blog.