Use these 15 tips to greatly improve the effectiveness of your presentations. These essential tips will help you structure your speech effectively and will include some great tips and techniques you should follow throughout your presentations. They also contain plenty of advice if you are nervous about presenting.
1. Follow the “10-20-30” Rule When Using Slides
After writing your speech, putting together some slides can help structure and add visuals to the presentation. However, when presenting your speech on a slide it is advisable to use the 10-20-30 rule. Although this “rule” is not set in stone, it’s a good guide when trying to make a presentation engaging.
The number of slides in a presentation should be limited to ten when using slides or PowerPoint.
An effective presentation should be concise; using too many slides in one presentation will cause your audience to lose focus and make them feel bored. You should try as much as possible to fit all important points within the 10 slides. However, you should not use this as an excuse to omit important points from your presentation.
This means your entire presentation should be done in 20 minutes. Long talks keep people bored. Limiting your entire presentation to 20 minutes helps your audience to follow carefully what you are saying.
You can lose attention if the presentation is very long. Even if you have an hour for the presentation, it’s a good idea to try to add some engaging elements like audience interaction and questions and answers.
A good presentation should be clear to your audience. Making your audience squint as they look at the screen is not a good idea.
It is advisable to use 30 points for the font. This makes the presentation legible for all to see. Your audience would be able to follow everything you present on the screen.
2. Memorize Your First and Last Sentence
When giving a presentation, it is bad to look at the slides all the time. Memorizing the first and last line gives your audience the impression that you came prepared. It also gives you the chance to look at your audience rather than always reading everything to them.
If everything is memorized word for word, it is not going to sound natural. The first and last sentences feel more natural and prevent you from always reading directly to your audience.
3. Structure Your Speech Effectively
When writing a speech, it should be well structured so that it can be effectively delivered. A clear speech makes a presentation easy to deliver.
Speeches are structured into three main parts—the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.
The introduction is the beginning of the speech. To give a good presentation, a proper introduction is key and should be well-written.
An introduction should be concise so you do not bore your audience. This is the first part of your speech that will set the tone for the rest of your speech. The introduction determines whether you are going to capture the attention of your audience or not. You can either gain or lose an audience by the introduction you give.
The introduction helps you to set the purpose for your presentation. The main purpose of writing the speech is supposed to be included in the introduction. This will keep your audience informed about the reason why you are giving the speech in the first place. The purpose of writing should be nicely fitted in your introduction. A bad introduction is not only going to make your speech look bad, but it is also going to make your audience lose interest in your entire presentation.
A good introduction should be succinct, nicely crafted, and should be able to convince your audience why they should listen to you.
After writing a good and convincing introduction the next step is the body. The body contains the main and detailed ideas of the speech.
Adequate preparation and research are needed when writing the body of your speech. To give a good presentation the body should be well organized and neatly presented.
After identifying the main purpose of your speech, the body gives you an opportunity to build on and explain the main purpose of the speech. This is where you offer evidence to support your main message and ideas.
Make sure your strong points come first in that order. Avoid irrelevant points in your speech in order not to lose your audience’s interest. Make sure you are not digressing too much from your main point.
When writing the body you can make references to facts, data figures, and personal anecdotes. You should make sure your points are evidence-based and not just tales for your audience to take you seriously.
You should first consider your audience when writing the body of your speech for presentation. Consider their age group, status, and interest so you can tailor your speech to that option. Your speech may be to inform, educate, entertain or argue. All these forms will have different approaches in the body of the speech.
For instance, if your speech is meant for argument, you should consider adding a lot of facts and figures to support your speech when doing a presentation. When it is intended for entertainment, hard research is not necessary, and you can rely on anecdotes.
This is the final part of your speech and presentation. Efforts should be made to make it memorable. A good conclusion should captivate and leave a lasting impression in the minds of your audience.
You should not introduce new points or new supporting evidence in your conclusion. Your conclusion is more like the final touch to your entire presentation that makes it stand out.
Avoid repeating your main points word for word when summarizing your speech in your conclusion.
4. Practice a Lot
As the popular saying goes, “practice makes perfect” the need for constant practice before a presentation cannot be understated. You have to rehearse over and over again till you are very familiar with your presentation.
5. Use Pauses
The use of pauses can be very powerful when public speaking and it is very useful to emphasize points.
Also, it is bad to rush when presenting, as your audience may not be able to properly grasp what you are saying.
6. Arrive Early and Know Your Surrounding
It is advisable to arrive early before your presentation. This will give you a feel of the venue and it’s also a great opportunity to check the staging if everything is on point. You can also check the projector and set up slides. Test the microphone if you’re going to use one and also prepare for the worse in case you encounter any technical difficulties.
7. Use Positive Visualization to Get Over the Nerves
“Picture the audience in their underwear!”
Positive visualization is one way you can help get your nerves under control. Positive visualization is using mental imagery to achieve a more relaxed state of mind. This is done by shifting your mind from the pressure of doing a presentation in front of an audience to visualizing your own success. This can be done before and during the presentation just to help calm your nerves.
8. Breathe Deeply
Breathing deeply before taking the stage helps to calm you down. Breathing deeply also improves your vocal projection. Stress can make it difficult for you to talk and think clearly.
9. Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Before the presentation, do not be too hard on yourself. Just prepare adequately and make sure your nerves are relaxed before you take the stage.
Do not be hard on yourself! Learn from your mistakes and prepare for the future. Public speaking skills are not mastered overnight. Once you fail, pick yourself up again, prepare and try again.
10. Keep It as Simple as Possible
Good presentations tend to be concise, simple, and to the point. It’s quite easy to fill a presentation up with boring details, but it can be a lot more difficult to extract only the important and essential points. Try to do this as much as possible, it’s an essential part of effective presentations.
11. Try to Entertain but Use Humor Wisely
Humour can be a great tool when giving presentations but use it wisely. Keep your humor very clean unless you know your audience very well and you’re very sure you’ll be able to pull it off!
12. Try to Engage With the Audience
Audience engagement is a great way to keep people interested in your presentation. This is particularly true when presenting to a vocal or extroverted group. Allow your audience to engage in the presentation by allowing them to ask questions, tell a story, share a personal experience. This can keep the presentation lively and interesting.
13. Positive Body Language
Use confident, open, and positive body language while speaking to your audience. This can make a huge difference because most of your communication during your presentation is actually through your body language.
Negative body language such as folded arms, shifting from side to side, and looking down at the ground can really distract an audience and make it difficult for them to focus on the content of the presentation.
14. Most Audiences Want You to Succeed
In general, audiences tend to be on your side when giving a presentation, particularly if you are speaking among co-workers, friends, or classmates. Use this as a positive message to feel confident when speaking.
Even if you feel that there may be a bit of negativity in the room while presenting, keep in mind not to exaggerate it too much in your mind beforehand.
15. Get Feedback Afterwards (Or Record Your Presentation)
One of the best ways to learn and improve on your presenting skills is to get feedback from people in the audience as to what you did well and what can be improved in the future.
You can also use video and audio recordings so you can analyze your presentation afterward and see what can be improved in the future.
Also, you can practice your presentations beforehand among family and friends, and they can also give you feedback in advance of the presentation.
Each presentation is a learning process and each one is an opportunity for you to get better at it. Incorporating these 15 effective tips will set you on the path and reveal the art of a great presentation.