When giving a presentation, it is essential to remember that you are not the only one who matters. The audience is just as influential as you are, and if they are not engaged, your presentation will be a failure. This article will discuss making and delivering an effective presentation and 20 tips for effective communication and presentation skills. We will also cover the best practices for offline (in-person) presentations and online presentations. You can ensure that your presentations are effective and engaging for your audience by following these tips!
Effective Communication and Presentation Skills
Communication skill is one of the most common skills recruiters look for while hiring new employees. However, it is not just about verbal communication; effective communication involves effective speaking and listening skills.
Similarly, presentation skill is also an essential aspect of effective communication. A good presenter can clearly and effectively communicate their ideas to the audience.
Tips on Making a Great Presentation
Now the first question is – how to make a Presentation? The same rules apply whether you use PowerPoint, Keynote, or other presentation software.
- First, when designing your PowerPoint, remember that simplicity is best.
- Don’t put everything you’re going to say presentation. Your presentation is NOT A SCRIPT – but a visual aid.
- The presentation highlights essential points for the audience to remember and not a document they (or you) must read.
- When emphasizing points, make sure they’re short, snappy, and use clear large fonts.
- If you’re wondering what design to use for your presentation, you do not have to be fancy. Your company might provide you with a template, or you can use the basic clean templates your software offers.
- The same works for fonts – use clear, easy-to-read print fonts.
- 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).
- To measure the length of your presentation, try practicing at home and timing yourself with a stopwatch. Ideally, your presentation should last 20 minutes.
- 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 you and your audience (Weischenk, 2018).
Tips on Communication Skills for Presentation
Now that you have your PowerPoint Presentation prepared, you might be wondering how to give a good presentation? To do so requires a proper mindset.
Motivate yourself by visualizing how you want your presentation to go. Then, imagine the great feeling you’ll 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 and help you relax, so you aren’t nervous when you present in front of an audience (Adams, 2009).
There are two ways you might be presenting – online 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 the 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 refer to your body language (facial expressions, posture, etc.) – and body language communicates what you feel, your confidence level, etc. So again, people may not be conscious of it, but they will “feel you.”
- You must be in the correct mindset.
- Do the pre-preparation visualization exercise mentioned earlier.
- When practicing at home, try and record yourself to see what non-verbal communication you’re giving.
- Don’t make scripted gestures; to improve your presentation skills, you must learn to improvise and keep calm.
Online Presentation Tips
Online presentations are done through a video call, either on your phone or computer. Unlike offline presentations, there is very little room for nonverbals here.
- When delivering presentations online, your voice matters a lot more.
- Before starting your online presentation, make sure your mic is working, and your voice sounds clear on the mic.
- Invest in a good microphone headset.
- When presenting, bring up your presentation on-screen in the conference video call for everyone to see.
- Make sure everyone else in the video call is on mute to ensure no other noises interfere with your voice.
20 Tips for Effective Presentation Skills
Now that you have some presentation fundamentals, here are some other tips to ensure 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 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 ten slides, 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 in and while. Keep in mind that this may not work with audiences from different cultures!
4. Use images
Not just use pictures in your presentations, but when explaining numbers and figures, try to explain them in stories. For 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 listen to yours. Your volume should be substantial but not too strong that you’re shouting.
Give the audience time to process the critical points. A 5-second pause in-between sentences make 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 six bullet points or six lines in a slide. This is a guideline and not a rule. If you need more lines to make your presentation clear, please add them. But if possible, keep it concise.
8. Connect with the Audience
Before any presentation, you should know what audience you are speaking to. If you’re talking to a room full of engineers, use technical terms that they like. If you’re talking 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 to.
9. Watch other great speakers get presentation tips
You might be wondering how to improve your presentation skills. You can by learning and imitating other great speakers. There are plenty of YouTube Videos of recorded speeches, ranging from the innovative 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, and 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 lunchtime or dinner. If you can choose a meeting schedule, you have two options. Your first option is early morning when no work has started yet, and everyone still has a fresh mind. Or you could go late afternoon when everyone has had lunch and career 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. You can answer these questions clearly and confidently by prepping these in advance, 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 a suit and tie.
It’s a common mistake – people forget to breathe during presentations. Improper breathing makes your voice sound wheezy, but it also causes airheadedness.
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.
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 a while 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 representations can have jokes.
20. Have Fun
Not enough people have fun in their presentations. Enjoy the process. Experiment with new presentation designs and enjoys the flow of your speech. Have fun with the audience. If you want it, the audience will too!
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. Let’s call him John, and 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. For example, you can record all your memories with its fantastic digital camera (as you’ve wanted 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. Unfortunately, he sounds a bit boring, and even though you know the features are reasonable, you don’t feel convinced by this man.
Which One Is Better?
Between the two presentations, which salesman would you instead buy from? Jack or John? The clear winner here is John. Unfortunately, Jack does not know how to give a good presentation and should learn how to improve his presentation skills from John!
I’ve written this story to illustrate an important point about modern business – presentation matters. Being effective in business takes more than just a high-quality product. It also requires excellent interpersonal communication skills. Presentation skill is an essential interpersonal skill that builds relationships and connections with your audience.
Answer to Common Questions
Good presentation skills are essential for effective communication because they help you to communicate your ideas clearly and concisely. They also help you engage with your audience and make sure that they understand your message.
There are several ways to improve your presentation skills and communication skills. One way is to practice regularly. This will help you to become more confident and comfortable with presenting. Another way is to get feedback from others. This can help you to identify areas where you need to improve. Finally, you can attend workshops or courses that will teach you effective presentation skills.
Effective communication and presentation skills are essential for several reasons. The tips provided in this article will help you improve your skills and become a more effective communicator. However, remember that practice makes perfect. Therefore, the more you practice, the better your skills will become.
Please take note of the presentation tips. Then, you can use these tips the next time you need to present a new service or business to your boss or clients!
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