How to improve your presentation skills

Speaking in front of a crowd can be daunting for anyone, whether it’s among your own peers or in front of complete strangers. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, there are situations when we can’t escape (university and work being the most common culprits). If the thought of presenting in front of an audience makes you anxious follow these next steps to help calm your nerves.

Put in the ground work beforehand – Before you even think about presenting make sure you have a clear, well laid out presentation. Think about what you’re you want your audience to take away by the end and make sure your main objectives are clear throughout. Ensure to rehearse beforehand; being prepared will make speaking a whole lot easier as you’ll already know what to say.  

Show some enthusiasm – We’ve all been in a lecture or meeting where it seems like the presenter would rather be anywhere but there. It’s important that you aren’t monotone but don’t over compensate – nothing worse than false eagerness. Your audience will be more engaged if you show passion and enthusiasm for your topic, and if you’re more focused more on your subject you won’t be focused on how your audience is perceiving you.

Use personal stories and add some humour – Using personal anecdotes and jokes to reinforce your points will further engage your audience. Story telling is a good way to personalise the information you’re trying to get across so it resonates with your listeners.  This should also help to put you at ease as talking about yourself is a subject that you know. Just make sure you don’t force jokes or talk about yourself too much, remember to stick to your objectives.

Ask questions – Involve your audience by asking both direct and rhetorical questions to make them think and participate. Not only will this help them to engage with the subject matter, but it will help to personalise their experience and help them to feel more comfortable speaking to you. It’s good to ask a few throughout as well as at the end to summarise your message and allow room for clarification.

Don’t panic!!! – You’ll be absolutely fine