Have to deliver a presentation at work tomorrow morning?
Not sure what to do?
Below are a list of categorized elements that will serve to improve your presentation style. Each of the elements has a short description. If you have a presentation in a few hours time then consider using elements from this cheat sheet to improve your presentation quickly.
You look confident when you make eye contact with the audience. Don’t look at any one person for a long time. Just make a point of scanning gently throughout the audience as you deliver your speech.
Want to look like a professional presenter? Add some movement into your presentation style. Not fast, jerky movements, but slow, steady, purposeful movements as you walk across the stage or towards the audience. Movement all helps you readjust your eye contact from person to person without having to move your head constantly.
As you are presenting, imagine it as a conversation between you and someone you know rather than a formal affair. When you have a conversation with someone you know you generally use your hands to describe or emphasize what you are saying. Do the same throughout your presentation for a professional effect. Importantly, do not practice and memorize gestures that align to your script. Doing this makes the gestures appear unnatural and forced and comes across as amateurish.
Throughout your presentation maintain an open body position. Don’t cover your body for long periods of time by clasping your hands in front of you or behind your back… this will make you look nervous. Additionally, maintain a confident and relaxed stance.
Start with a “hook”
Begin your presentation by asking a question instead of standard, boring introductions. If your presentation is about the launch of a new marketing campaign, perhaps begin by asking the audience, “Who thinks our marketing campaigns could do with a revamp?” Ask the question while you hold your hand in the air to encourage the audience to respond. After you get some responses follow up with, “Well today I’m going to tell about the new marketing campaign that is going to seriously revamp things.”
Start with the screen off
If you can, begin your presentation with the screen and talk to the audience from the center of the room. Do the first 30 seconds to a minute of your presentation with the screen off to encourage the audience to focus on you.
Treat as a conversation and interact with the audience
The more you talk to the audience in a conversational tone the more engaged they will be. You will be more relaxed and therefore will project more confidence.
Don’t fret over mistakes
If you make a mistake laugh at it, simply correct yourself, or move on. Fretting over small mistakes and apologizing every two minutes makes you look as though you lack confidence.
Use presenter view if possible
When delivering your presentation use the presenter view with PowerPoint or Keynote so that you can see which slides are coming next. This improves your verbal transitioning and your confidence.
Minimize content on slides
Try as hard as you can to have minimal content on your slides. Slides full of information are confusing for your audience and they will end up spending all their time reading rather than listening to you. Use white space liberally.
Don’t show all the information at once
If you have something impactful to say, eg. “We doubled profits last month!”, “Allow me to introduce our latest product!”, don’t have the impact information showing on your slides while you give the background, or preamble. Showing it later, ie. when you deliver the impactful line, will add major impact to your presentation. If the audience sees the impactful information while you are giving the background or preamble, they will be unsurprised, even bored, when you deliver the impactful statement.