20 Presentation Tips for Effective Communication

20 Presentation Tips for Effective Communication
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In this article, we’ll be talking about how to make a presentation, and how to give a good presentation. We will be covering presentation tips, and how to improve presentation skills. Our article will also cover practices for offline (in-person) presentations and online presentations.

Tips on How to Make a Presentation Great

Now the first question is – how to make a Presentation? Whether you use PowerPoint, Keynote, or other presentation software the same rules apply.

  1. First, when designing your PowerPoint, remember that simplicity is best.
  2. Don’t put everything you’re going to say presentation. Your presentation is NOT A SCRIPT – but a visual aid.
  3. The presentation is there to highlight important points for the audience to remember, and not a document they (or you) must-read.
  4. When emphasizing points, make sure they’re short, snappy, and use clear large fonts.
  5. If you’re wondering what design to use for your presentation, you do not have to be fancy. Your company might provide you a template, or you can simply use the basic clean templates your software offers.
  6. The same works for fonts – use clear, easy-to-read print fonts.
  7. Keep your presentation short. Sustained attention is exhausting – while your audience is listening to you, they are spending energy trying not to get distracted (Itti et al. 2005).
  8. To measure the length of your presentation, try practicing at home and timing yourself with a stopwatch. Ideally, your presentation should last 20 minutes.
  9. Of course, a short presentation is not always possible. If your presentation lasts up to an hour or longer, try breaking your presentation into chunks and scheduling breaks.
    A 5-minute break for every hour is best, however, experiment and see what works for both you and your audience (Weischenk, 2018).

How to Give a Great Presentation – Tips

Pre-presentation Preparation

Now that you have your PowerPoint Presentation prepared, you might be wondering how to give a good presentation? To do so requires proper mindset.

Motivate yourself by visualizing how you want your presentation to go. Imagine the great feeling you’re going to have when you finish the presentation. Have the conviction that you’re going to succeed with your presentation.

Visualization can help reinforce the presentation you’ve already practiced in, and help you both relax so you aren’t nervous when you present in front of an audience (Adams, 2009).

Now there are two ways you might be presenting – online presentations and offline presentations. For both, I’ll explain how to give a good presentation.

Offline Presentation Tips

When we say Offline presentation, we mean presentations in front of an audience – be it in a meeting room, auditorium etc. Even though Internet exists, people still fly business trips because some things can only be communicated in person.

Not just your voice, but also your non-verbals. Non-verbals refers to your body language (facial expressions, posture etc.) – and body language communicates what you feel, your confidence level etc. People may not be conscious of it , but they will “feel you”.

  1. It’s important you’re in the correct mindset.
  2. Do the pre-preparation visualization exercise mentioned earlier.
  3. When practicing at home, try and record yourself to see what non-verbal communication you’re giving.
  4. Don’t make scripted gestures, to improve your presentation skills you must learn how to improvise and keep calm.

Online Presentation Tips

Online presentations are presentations done through a video call, either on your phone or computer. Unlike offline presentations, there is very little room for non-verbal’s here.

  1. When delivering presentations online, your voice matters a lot more.
  2. Before you start your online presentation, make sure your mic is working and your voice sounds clear on the mic.
  3. Invest in a good microphone headset. 
  4. When presenting, bring up your presentation on-screen in the conference video call for everyone to see.
  5. Make sure everyone else in the video call is on mute to make sure there is no other noises interfering your voice.

20 Presentation Tips for Effective Communication

Now that you have some presentation fundamentals, here are some other tips to make sure that your presentations are always spot-on and get you what you want!

1. Pace yourself

Presenting isn’t about finishing as fast as you can but instead getting your message across. Practice by recording yourself, and if you find yourself speaking too fast try and slow your sentences.

2. Follow 10 – 20 – 30 Rule of Presentation Tips

Remember the 20 minute presentation rule I told you earlier? It’s part of the 10-20-30 rule. Your PowerPoint shouldn’t have more than 10 slide, your presentation shouldn’t last more than 20 minutes, and the fonts on your PowerPoint should be no smaller than 30 points. This is a guideline, so modify as you see fit!

3. Eye Contact matters

To give a good presentation, you must face your audience and know your message. Look them in the eye every once and awhile. Keep in mind that this may not work with audiences from different cultures!

4. Use images

Not just pictures on your presentations, but when explaining numbers and figures try to explain in stories. As an example, 480,000 people dying every year due to smoking in the US is hard to visualize. But if you tell me a person dies every minute due to smoking, that image gets across.

5. Modulate your voice

This will matter a lot more in Offline presentations, but make sure you’re loud enough to be heard from everywhere in the room. To check, ask a co-worker to sit in the farthest part of the room and present. See if he can hear your clearly. Your volume should be strong, but not too strong that you’re shouting.

6. Pause

Give the audience time to process the important points. A 5 second pause in-between sentences makes sure each one is given enough time to be remembered and processed by your audience.

7. Follow 6 x 6 Rule of Presentation Tips

The 6 x 6 rule states that each slide in your PowerPoint should contain no more than 6 bullet points or 6 lines in a slide. This is a guideline and not a rule. If you need more lines to make your presentation clear, feel free to add them. But if possible, keep it succinct.

8. Connect with the Audience

Before any presentation, you should know what audience you are speaking to. If you’re speaking to a room full of engineers, makes sure to use technical terms that they like. If you’re speaking to a room full of new clients, try to speak in an easy-going relaxed tone. Use stories or images that your audience can relate with.

9. Watch other great speakers to get presentation tips

You might be wondering how to improve presentation skills. You can by learning and imitating other great speakers. There are plenty of YouTube Videos of recorded speeches, ranging from the visionary product reveals of Steve Jobs to the inspiring war speeches of Churchill.

10. Get there early and review

If you’re presenting in front of an audience, head to the venue 2 hours before. Check the room’s acoustics, review your PowerPoint. Better to find and fix issues now than to discover those issues in the middle of your presentation.

11. Schedule your meeting effectively

No one likes meetings during lunch time or dinner. If you can choose a meeting schedule, you have two options. Your first option is early morning, where no work has started yet and everyone still has a fresh mind. Or you could go late afternoon, where everyone has had lunch and work is about to finish.

12. Prepare for Questions

Not everything can be explained in one long presentation. Get to know your audience, and think about the questions they will ask. By prepping these in advance you can answer these questions clearly and confidently, and your presentation will look smooth.

13. Dress well

Looking good has advantages. Apart from keeping your audience’s interest, it makes you feel confident. Again, the clothes you’ll choose will be based on your audience. Not all offices require suit and tie.

14. Breathe

It’s a common mistake – people forget to breathe during presentations. Not only does improper breathing make your voice sound wheezy, it also causes air headedness.

15. Put on a Smile

If you can emanate positive energy, your audience will more likely listen. Don’t force or overdo it however.

16. Talk to the audience

Feel free to ask comments from the audience, and ask them questions. If you make it feel like a dialogue, the audience becomes more involved in what you’re saying.

17. Posture

Stand up straight but not too stiff. Having the proper posture makes you feel good, and you won’t look like a slouch to your audience!

18. Have water on hand

Talking for awhile will make your throat dry and itch. Have a glass  or better yet, a bottle of water. Drink in between pauses to freshen up.

19. Joke around

Sliding jokes here and there will keep the audience entertained. Better yet, they’ll bond with you. However, remember the tone of the presentation – as not all presentations can have jokes.

20. Have Fun

Not enough people have fun in their own presentations. Enjoy the process. Experiment with new presentation designs enjoys the flow of your own speech. Have fun with the audience. If you enjoy it, the audience will too!

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Importance of Presentation

Imagine you’re at the mall buying a new phone. You’ve picked two phones – both of which are almost identical. They’re no different in what features they offer, and they are no different in price, and you need to choose only one.

Two respective salesmen representing these phones come over to you and explain why you should buy their phone. The first salesman, let’s call him John, asks why you need the phone. After you’ve told him your needs John tells you his phone can help you out. He tells you to imagine what possibilities the phone unlocks. You can record all your memories with its fantastic digital camera (as you’ve been wanting to be a photographer your entire life), or how you can make it feel as if loved ones are close to home by using the phone’s video call feature.

After John finishes his pitch the second salesman, let’s call him Jack, tells you why he should buy your phone. He explains the technical features and runs through them as if he’s reading straight from the manual. The camera takes high-quality pictures, and communication is easier than ever. He sounds a bit boring, and even though you know the features are good, you don’t feel convinced by this man.

Which One Is Better?

Between the two presentations, which salesman would you rather buy from? Jack or John? The clear winner here, is John. Jack does not know how to give a good presentation and should learn how to improve presentation skills from John!

I’ve written this story to illustrate an important point about modern business – presentation matters. To be effective in business, it takes more than just a high-quality product.  It also requires excellent interpersonal communication skills. Presentation skill is one of the important interpersonal skills which build relationships and connections with your audience.

Conclusion:

After reading this article, I hope you are equipped with the knowledge on how to make and deliver a good presentation. Please take note of the presentation tips. You can use these tips for the next time you need to present a new service or business to your boss or clients!

Personal development needs continuous improvement of skills. Improve your presentation skills and stay ahead in your worklife.

References:

Adams, AJ. (2009, December  3). Seeing Is Believing: The Power of Visualization. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/flourish/200912/seeing-is-believing-the-power-visualization

Antonakis, J., Fenley, M., & Liechti, S. (2011). Can Charisma Be Taught? Tests of Two Interventions. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10(3), 374–396. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2010.0012

Itti, Laurent., Rees, Geraint., & Tsotsos, J. K. (2005). Neurobiology of attention. Elsevier Academic Press; /z-wcorg/.
Weinschenk, S. (2018). 100 Things every presenter needs to know about people. Edgar, WI: The Team W Inc. Wilson, K., & Korn, J. H. (2007). Attention During Lectures: Beyond Ten Minutes. Teaching of Psychology, 34(2), 85–89. https://doi.org/10.1080/00986280701291291

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By Kalpataru Biswas

Kalpataru is a Software Sales, and Product Marketing professional. He writes on business development, personal development, personal finance, and career development. He has more than 10 years of experience in driving revenue through data-driven Sales & Marketing.