Ex-president Ford of the United States of America once said that being able to talk in front of an audience was the most important skill he wished he had learnt, and would have gone back to college if he had mastered it.
You don’t have to be like Ford. Today, I will be sharing some tips on how you can develop the right presentation skill needed for any occasion.
Whether you are facing an interview panel, pitching an idea to your board of senior executives, making a sales presentation or delivering a lecture, these tips will help you understand what effective presentation is.
Although there has been so much hype around possessing a British or an American accent due to some person’s level of inferiority complex, the truth is that effective presentation or public speaking skills has nothing to do with your accent.
Accents are no longer regarded as an indication of breeding, background or education. In fact, it is more likely you will be treated with suspicion if you put up a false accent. People may believe you are trying to be someone that you are not. So it is advised, you have confidence in the natural tone and sound of your own original accent without hiding it.
If you are not audible enough to be heard, every other presentation skill you employ will only be a waste of energy. The first thing you owe your audience is to be heard, not even to be understood. Your audience have to hear you first before they can understand you. There is no particular pitch or volume that is recommended for public speaking. Your volume or pitch is influenced by mood and audience size.
When next you are making that presentation, make sure you are audible enough. As simple as it sounds, most people are not.
For effective presentation, I advise that you divide your content into three parts;
A). Introduction: Tell your audience what you are going to tell them.
B). Body: Tell them
C). Conclusion: Tell them what you have told them.
Articulate your thoughts in that structure. You build anticipation with your introduction by painting a picture of what they should expect from the presentation. Bring their attention back to the thing you want them to take out of the presentation with your conclusion. In public speaking, people always remember the last thing you say. So make a good last impression.
When preparing your slides for the presentation, always remember that it is called a ‘Power Point Slides’ and not a ‘Power Note Slides”. A lot of people fall for the temptation of putting so many details in a slide, that it makes the presentation clumsy and boring.
Also, the bad thing about having too much in a slide is that it gives so much power to the slides. You tend to be facing the slide more than you are facing your audience. Instead of presenting effectively, you will end up facing your slide 80% of the time. Imagine what will happen to you if power supply goes off. It means everything has to pause until power is restored. Try as much as you can to own your presentation through adequate preparation. The slide is only there to compliment what you are saying.
Finally on this, you don’t need a 30-slide PowerPoint for a 30 -minute presentation. The lengthier the slides are, the more tiring your presentation becomes.
We live in a visual and televisual age, when what we see is what we believe. The same is true of you when you present before a live audience. The first impression your audience gets of you is what you like. If you want your audience to buy into your product or ideas, you are expected to dress the part and look the part too.
I suggest you dress as best as you can and appropriately, showing respect to your audience and a humble recognition that while you are speaking, you are on a show.
Your body language has to do with your non-verbal communication skills. This includes facial expression, eye contact, stage movement, posture and gestures. I really cannot discuss all this now due to word limits, but I encourage you to get it right with your body language.
However, even the best body language skills can’t make a bad presentation good. But bad body language skills can ruin your great content. As a coach, if I had the opportunity to improve just one area for a client, I would choose body language mannerisms.
Improve the way you look and sound when you say the words you’ve prepared, and you’ll give a better presentation.
Have a great day!
Photo Credit: Dennis Owusu-ansah | Dreamstime.com