In some job roles, good presentation skills are vital. We are often required to present ideas and proposals to our colleagues, employers, and even external parties. The first step to this is creating the presentation and having something meaningful to say. However, a large component that some people may forget is the actual presenting part. Refined presentation skills can take a presentation from good to great.
At Virtual PA London, we love sharing tips that can really help those working in office jobs. We have gathered a huge amount of expertise over the years as a Virtual Personal Assistant company and find it rewarding to share this knowledge with the online community. In this article, we will be outlining our top 5 tips for giving a good presentation and improving your presenting skills.
Your audience is the most important thing when it comes to giving a presentation. They need to be your primary focus throughout the creation of the presentation, and throughout presenting it.
Connect with your audience by portraying a comfortable and relaxed persona. You should show your human side – smile, make eye contact, and speak to them, don’t face the screen or stare into mid-air! You should try to relax as much as you can – nerves will show. Of course, it’s completely natural to feel nervous and your audience will understand this, but an excessive display of nerves will become distracting and will inhibit your ability to connect with the audience.
Secondly, you should be honest with your audience about why this topic matters to you. Talk about how you really feel about the topic and show a sense of passion and commitment. This is a great way to engage the audience and connect on a human level.
You should also focus on the needs/wants of your audience. Consider what your audience needs to know and try to make it easy for them to understand these points. Keep it simple and focused on whatever the core message is – what are the fundamental points your audience needs to take away from this presentation?
Lastly, be aware of the way your audience responds to you. A presentation isn’t always a one-way monologue – you should take into account your audience responses and react to these appropriately.
The beginning of a presentation is crucial – it’s the perfect time to capture the audience’s attention. You need to be entertaining and engaging from the outset, or else you may lose their attention early-on which makes it very difficult to get it back!
The main thing to avoid is boring the audience. If they find your introduction dull, they may struggle to pay attention to what you’re saying for the rest of the presentation. You could do this by telling a story or using a powerful anecdote. Storytelling is one sure-fire way to engage them since humans naturally respond well to stories.
This is a super important part of giving an effective presentation. Your voice should use varying pitch and tone depending on what is being said, and you should put emphasis on certain words or phrases. Essentially, it should not be a dull, monotonous relaying of words. You want it to sound like you’re having a real conversation that portrays passion, confidence, and excitement. It shouldn’t sound like you’re simply reading from a script, or trying to get the words out as quickly as possible.
Body language is also incredibly important. A huge amount of communication is non-verbal – far more than some people may know. You should definitely avoid actions like folding your arms or putting your hands in your pockets. These kinds of mannerisms will make you appear closed-off, unapproachable, and unengaging. Instead, you want to use open gestures, appear confident and enthusiastic, and move around naturally.
You don’t need to stand in one place, but you shouldn’t move around too much either. Pacing back-and-forth or repeatedly shifting weight between your feet is a sure-fire no. This can become distracting or appear as if you’re overly nervous/agitated. Simply try to enjoy yourself and allow confidence to naturally ooze out. Good stage presence will take practice and experience, but the main thing is to not overthink it – do what feels natural and try to minimise those nerves.
This is a super quick point, but also a very helpful one (and is also very easy to remember!). The 10-20-30 rule was made by Guy Kawasaki as a way to instantly make your presentation more accessible to all audience members.
Firstly, your presentation should be around 10 slides long. Secondly, it should be no longer than 20 minutes. And lastly, the font size used should be no smaller than 30.
This may have slightly less to do with the actual presenting part, but it’s a helpful thing to remember nonetheless. These 3 points will help you to ensure that your audience remains engaged throughout, and can easily pay attention and retain information.
Lastly, you need to practise! Practising your presentation skills will help you to get comfortable with the idea of presenting to people which can ease your nerves. This will allow you to become more confident with what you need to say and when. Before you present, you should be completely familiar with all of the slides in your presentation and all of the information that will be relayed.
We all know this: when presenting, you don’t simply read out what’s written on the slide. The slide should be a simple display of engaging content, key points, illustrations, infographics, etc. Your words will be different – this is where the deeper explanations and expansions will come into play. Therefore, you should plan what your spoken words will be and practise because it won’t all be written on the slides for you to read-off.
In the end, practice does make perfect! Once you are confident after practising, it will make the whole thing far more enjoyable and easy for you.