March, 2015

How to nail your presentation

I am not good in public speaking and presenting but I have just found ways to help me do it better. In Varsity I was part of a student development organisation and I had to do a lot of public speaking. Those who know me well can agree with me when I say I am a shy person and I dislike attention and standing in-front of people. However I always managed to nail my presentations. How do I do it? The answer is in this article.

Here are some tips on how you can nail your presentations:
Know your audience & content
First you need to understand your audience, this is key in preparing a good presentation. Know everything you are going to cover on the presentation in detail. If you do research any ensure you fully understand your findings. Knowing your content will help you present with confidence and to be able to take on questions from the audience regarding what you presented.
"Practice makes perfect" the phrase says it all. Few days before the presentation day ensure that you know your presentation inside out. Take some time and practice your presentation, record yourself if you can. Note weak points and try improve those.
Keep your presentations as short as possible. People don't really like to sit and listen to one person talk for a long time.
Ice break
The first 30 seconds in-front of an audience is the most challenging for me. This is because I'm very nervous at that time and I'm trying to adapt to the environment. If you have the same challenge you can overcome this by starting with an Ice break. Start by saying something funny and get the audience laughing a bit. While they laughing you will be busy adapting to the environment.
Movement & Gestures
Don't be a statue, move around the place, use the space provided. It is also good to use hand gestures to emphasize points.
Voice projection
Keep a balanced pitch of your voice. Don't be too low and don't be too loud. Voice projection takes a lot of practice. Also when you are nervous someone can easily pick it up from a loud voice.
If possible you can interact with the audience by asking a question or two during the presentations. Ask simple questions that requires a show of hand or a simple 'yes' or 'no' so that your presentation don't turn into a therapy session. This is another way to keep the audience engaged and make them part of the presentation. Finally at the end of your presentation, allow audience to ask a few questions to ensure your presentation was loud and clear.

The more presentations you do the better you will become in presenting. Constantly seek to improve your presentation skills by practising more and doing more research.

Thank you for reading!
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