Presentation skills are important. Presentations are something that we have to do at every step of our lives. From your first job to your last, chances are that you will have to learn how to give a good presentation.
Not only do we all have to give presentations, but we have also all had to listen to quite a few. A good presentation can be really good: it can inspire you, it can have the power to transport you out of the room that you are sitting in and push you into action. A bad one, well, we have all been there, it can be interminable to sit through.
How do you make a presentation that will truly catch and keep your audience’s attention? In truth, it takes many things. Here are the six best practices on how to give a good presentation:
1. Make interesting presentation slides
Don’t write everything on your PowerPoint slide, don’t use too many transitions, don’t use really bright colors or colour that don’t match. If you’ve made it this far, you probably already know this. Still, it can never be re-stated enough. When preparing slides for your presentation, stick to templates with good fonts and to colours that are not overpowering. Remember to put only key points and interesting visuals on your slides or any other visual aid that you are using.
Another tip: Pictures are great at catching people’s attention. Words, not always.
2. Show passion in your presentation
Do you remember that teacher in school who just loved their topic? Maybe you didn’t share their passion, but their passion made you listen. In order to give a good presentation, you must be able to exhibit passion.
You can hear it in a person’s voice and see it in their faces when they truly love and believe in what they are talking about. Tap into your passion when giving your presentation. Your passion will reach your audience and make them want to listen to you. Emotions are contagious: when you are passionate about something you will pass that passion along to those who are listening. That is really the purpose of most presentations, to convey you message to your audience.
3. Body language is important in presentations
Body Language is important, in all contexts. We all know this. When we are listening to someone a large portion of the information that we gather is based on their body language, not just on their words.
What does this mean during presentations? You should remember to smile and to make eye contact with your audience. Seeming friendly and approachable will make what you say seem the same way. Indeed, by doing so you are building relationships with your audience. This is important because people are more likely to listen to people that they have a relationship with, especially to people that they trust.
4. Use presentation folders
How do you organise all of this preparation? Using folders of course! Preparation is key to any presentation. You need to choose which stories to include, which facts to include. You also need to know a lot about your audience, so that you can present these in an appealing way. Finally, you need to prepare visuals for your presentation.
This can all amount to a lot of information. Keeping it all organised will help you to build your presentation as quickly and efficiently as possible. Presentation folders are helpful in your preparation, as you can easily slip various documents in and out of them.
5. Relax during the presentation
You should also make an effort to relax, which will naturally help you give a good presentation. A tense, nervous presenter is no fun to watch. It is also not easy to relax before and during a presentation. We are often under a lot of pressure when making presentations and for many standing in front of a group of people is very stressful.
Relaxing may seem near impossible. It isn’t. Make sure that you are well-prepared, this is the first step to taking some of the anxiety out of presenting. Then, while presenting, try not to think about it too much. That being said, you definitely should be thinking, this is not the time to turn off your brain. Just don’t think about the pressure you are under or what is stressing you: just focus on the moment, the words you are using and ideas that you are conveying.
6. Tell stories in the presentation
Stories are how we share information about the world. Tell someone a series of facts and they will likely forget it. Maybe not today, but by next month they probably won’t remember anymore. Share stories and they are likely to remember.
A great way of using the power of stories is to share anecdotes. They add a personal touch to your presentation, making you and your topic relatable.
Stories are also a great way of opening a presentation. They act as a hook that will catch your audience’s attention and make them want to hear what you have to say next.