There are some people who take to public speaking like a duck to water. They’re a very rare and curious breed who seem impervious to the risks of going bright red, completely losing their train of thought and tripping over while pretending they’re at ease. The rest of us have to work at it. However, eventually, with plenty of practice and a few mishaps along the way, we do get much better.
Photo by NYCHOLAS SOUZA
But what presentation skills do you need to master to become an accomplished public speaker? These are our top public speaking and presentation tips to help you calm those nerves and deliver a performance you can be proud of.
1. Appreciate that the audience is on your side
One of the most important presentation tips is to realise the audience is on your side. Before the event, you might imagine a critical mob that’s desperate to point and laugh at your slightest mistakes. Fortunately, that’s just not the way 99.9 per cent of presentations are.
Most people will understand exactly how you’re feeling. They will want to see you overcome your fear and do as well as you can. Once you accept the audience are on your side, it’s much easier to get up there and give it your best shot.
2. Slow it down
When you’re nervous, the natural reaction is to speed up and get it over with as soon as you can. However, talking too fast is not the solution. All you’ll do is fail to communicate effectively, run out of breath and panic.
Let’s take a breath and slow it all down. Pausing even for a second when all eyes are on you can feel like an eternity, but you have to be brave. Pausing is an extremely important communication tool, helping you to emphasise points and gather your thoughts.
3. Engage the audience
A presentation might seem like a one-way conversation, but it doesn’t have to be that way. One simple public speaking tip to boost your presentation skills is to ask your audience for their opinions on the subject first. Starting a presentation by taking a poll or asking for a show of hands immediately engages the audience and makes you seem much more relatable.
4. Have a glass of water on standby
It’s amazing. You can go all your life without ever having any problems speaking, then, just when you need to be at your best, your throat becomes bone dry, you develop a cough from nowhere and it all goes wrong. If there’s one presentation tip we can give you, it’s this: please pour yourself a cautionary glass of water.
5. Turn to the right tech
One-third of the respondents to a recent survey said they believed the technology used during a presentation was just as important as the presenter themselves. In today’s wired world, there are lots of different types of tech that will take your presentation to the next level. Interactive boards, projectors and screens and interactive voting systems are just a few examples of tech you can hire to give your presentation a boost.
6. Practice makes perfect
We know there are a million things you’d rather be doing than practising a presentation you’re terrified to give, but if you really want to deliver, it’s well worth making time in your schedule to practice. The more you practice, the more flaws you’ll identify in your presentation and the more comfortable you’ll feel. If you don’t feel comfortable delivering the material without a script, write yourself one. Some people seem to think reading a script is cheating, but it can be your best friend.
Hire the tech you need today
Want to give your presentation skills a boost? Hiring the latest technology can add interest, engagement and interactivity to your presentation. At Hire Intelligence, we offer short-term and long-term rental deals to take your one-off and regular presentations to the next level. Get in touch to find out more.