3 Tips to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Public speaking. It’s the stuff of nightmares – like visiting the dentist or never-ending group texts. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil for most of us in business or the corporate world. Preparing and conducting presentations can be a regular occurrence, so managing (and possibly overcoming) those public speaking fears is important. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:

Don’t Jam in Too Much Material

The editing process is crucial. You do not want to fit in endless amounts of material within a 10-15 minute time frame. During editing, be sure to comb through all the information and cut out anything that isn’t absolutely necessary.

If you are using PowerPoint (or another presentation app), you should also refrain from including too much information on your slides. The audience’s eyes should be focused on you and not tuning you out as they try digesting all the information being presented on screen.

Engage With the Audience

Face it – most people dislike attending presentations almost as much as giving them. By boosting engagement, you can break up the monotony. Throw in some polls or surveys. These could lead into inviting questions. It will keep everyone attentive and make them feel as if they are part of a conversation versus attending a lecture.

Don’t Worry About Mistakes

Mistakes are going to happen. No one is perfect – except for maybe Beyoncé or Ryan Gosling, but you are neither so don’t sweat it. You alone planned the presentation. If you missed mentioning something, they will not know that – only you will. Do not get rattled by any missteps. As far as the audience is concerned, everything is going as planned. If you need to circle back to make a correction or mention something you omitted, the Q&A portion of the presentation is the time to do so.

13 thoughts on “3 Tips to Improve Your Presentation Skills”

  1. I’ve never been a fan of public speaking.. I somehow managed to take an online public speaking class in college.. Best money I ever spent!

  2. I remember when I was in young and still in school I would be scared to death to speak in front of a group of people. As the years have gone by, I realized that as long as one knows the subject matter, it really is quite easy to speak in front of people because of the feeling of being confident. A good tip someone gave me was to look at the top of the head of the person all the way in the back, giving the impression that when speaking one is looking at the audience when one really isn’t. That way you won’t feel like you’re being stared at when speaking.

  3. I took a class in college that dealt with public speaking and presentations. The professor actually filmed us (adding to the nerves) and made us watch the videos in class the following weeks. Definitely pushes you out of your comfort zone!

  4. What you have to do is force yourself to keep at it. The more you get up there the more comfortable you will become.

  5. Even if there is one person in the room I still hate public speaking. It is my biggest weakness, but I find it gets easier each time I do it.

  6. These are all good tips – the article and the comments. I have been fortunate to enjoy public speaking, but I think that is not the case for most people.

  7. My nerves always get the best of me when it comes to public speaking. There is something about having a ton of people focusing on me that shrivels any confidence I may have had before I hit the podium. Glad to see I am not the only one who struggles with this. Great article!

  8. The best thing to do is just force yourself to face your fear. The more you do it the better you’ll get and the more comfortable you will be. It is hard at first, but then you wonder why it was so scary in the first place.

  9. I’ve always had the problem of jittery hands whenever I had to speak publically. My college professor suggested I keep a paper clip in my hands, bending it as I spoke, which definitely helped ease my nervousness.

  10. I agree with many of the comments here. The best way to get more comfortable with public speaking is to do it! Repetition is the best way to calm your nerves and I am sure even famous public speakerss still get a little nervous talking to large crowds! No one likes to be the center of attention but facing your fears is the only way to overcome it. Whenever I have to deliver a presentation in front of people, I practice it out loud 3 times. It helps me to get it out and I feel more confident practicing it versus winging it the day of! You may never be 100% free of the public speaking nerves but at least on the outside everyone sees a confident speaker ( even if you are freaking out on the inside 🙂

  11. Great pointers. Also don’t forget not to get too deep into one aspect, ultimately steering you almost completely off topic. It can be difficult to get back to the topic and once you do, you may feel and sound a little silly.

  12. Fantastic pointers. I get incredibly nervous with public speaking, whether it is a crowd of two or wo thousand.

  13. I wouldn’t compare public speaking to the dentist. I love going to the dentist and I’d rather sit there for the whole day than have to speak in front of an audience.

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