10 presentation tips to make you stand out from the crowd
They say at a funeral it would probably be better being in the casket than delivering the eulogy. Although there’s not much that can be done to ease the initial anxiety and fear, here are a few tips to help you deliver a better presentation and stand out from the crowd.
1) Show passion
The most important thing about a presentation, or any public speaking in fact, is to connect with your audience. Your audience want to feel your passion and enthusiasm. If you’re excited and motivated by something, the chances are, your overall presence and feelings with rub off on them too. You need to connect with your audience in an honest and exciting way, don’t hold back; be confident and show those people just how much you care.
2) Start Strong
Everybody knows that first impressions are everything: The first 2-3 minutes off your presentation are crucial, you need to grab the audience’s attention and hold it for the duration. This is where most presenters fall short. Start strong, and be short and to the point.
3) Smile and make eye contact
Easy right? Wrong. So many presenters fail to do this simple task. A lot of people are so focused on getting their information out, they can end up firing out their presentation in half the time whilst either staring at the ground or off into the distance. Making eye contact and smiling builds up rapport with your audience, helping them to connect with you and your subject matter. By connecting with your audience you'll remember that it's only a room of people just like yourself, and the nerves will start to subside.
4) Be entertaining
Nobody wants to sit in a presentation, watching someone read straight from the slides, desperately trying to get it over and done with. If you want to convice the crowd of what you're trying to sell, you'll need to inject a bit of passion into it: tell a few jokes, show them that you are actually interested in what you're talking about.
5) Tell stories
Everyone loves a good story, it’s how we’re programmed as humans to respond. Using stories in your presentation means the audience is more likely to engage with you, this can also help in making you presentation more memorable. As well as telling stories in your presentation, you want your actual presentation to act as a story in its own right.
6) Use your voice effectively
It’s a common viewpoint that the spoken word is inefficient as a means of communication, I believe it’s better to have it backed up with visual aids but I don’t think there’s anything more powerful that someone’s honest voice. It’s like going back to broadcasting basics, you need to vary the speed in which you talk and emphasise change in tone and pitch to make your voice more interesting and to capture the audience’s attention. No-one wants to listen to a robot do they?
7) Body language
As well as holding the audience's attention with your voice, you need the correct body language. It’s estimated over three quarters of communication is non-verbal, meaning your body language plays a crucial part to getting your message across. Make sure you are giving the right messages, avoid hands in pockets and crossed arms. Gestures should be open and confident, after all you want to be inviting people to listen to you.
8) Arrive early
There’s nothing worse than not being prepared and not having enough time to do something. Don’t be that person fumbling around with PowerPoint while people are sat waiting. If you give yourself plenty of time and arrive early, you can get a feel for the room, run through your slideshow and fix any issues. If you are thoroughly prepared, you will inevitably feel more more relaxed.
9) Get practice
Practice makes perfect as we all know… if you practice your speaking skills regularly both in front of people and alone, it will only make you more confident. Even practising in front of the mirror, as stupid as it sounds, can be a good way to analyse your body language. Get your friends and family to be the audience, and get feedback, you only have something to gain.
10) Be professional and polite at all times
It is very important to remain professional throughout your presentation. At the end when audience members give feedback, you should listen carefully and act appropriately. Even if the feedback is critical you must thank them for the feedback. A true professional remains cool and in control at all times, it’s your reputation on the line, be gracious with even the most challenging of audiences.