You may enjoy it or not, but presenting is an inevitable part of our life. From the very beginning in the elementary school, through our life we always have something to present. Do you even remember your first encounter with a projector or PowerPoint, do you remember your first presentation? Whether you present a high school project, your business idea, a political program that should change lives of millions, or you just want to entertain people with a few funny pictures, you will need some presentation skills. Effective presentations are a combination of many elements, but we can point out a few key skills that are required when you present in almost every field today.
Presenting and Getting the Feedback
Dealing with presentation nerves
It’s natural to feel nervous before your presentation. Even the most experienced presenters feel this way before the presentation. You just have to know how to quality channel a stress into a positive energy and there are some techniques that can help you to do it. One of the most important thing is to try to relax before the presentation. Listening a music, going for a walk or getting a fresh air can be helpful. A dry throat can be one of the symptoms of nerves, you should prepare a glass and a small bottle of water so you can take it occasionally during the presentation. Smiling and talking slowly can also help you to relax. Arrive early to feel comfortable with the room where you’ll be presenting, walk around and sit in the audience to get a feel how it will look. It can help you to relax, and if you connect with the space before a presentation you will probably easier connect with the audience later.
You have to look confident when you’re on the stage and you have to believe in what you’re saying. A big smile and eye contact with the audience can help you to convince them that you know and understand what you’re saying. While you’re presenting, stay straight and keep your head high, avoid putting your hands in pockets, do not play with fingers, pens or your hair. Moving around is advisable, but be careful, move slowly and do not try to invent new dance steps.
If you want to improve your presentation skills, you’ll have to learn how to control your voice. Control volume and clarity of your voice for effective presentation. You should speak clearly and slowly, but loudly enough so everyone can hear you. Speaking too quietly or speaking too fast can result in the incomprehension of your main point. Pause occasionally to let the audience absorb the information, and work hard on eliminating those “ums” and the other words that are not necessary, because it can be really annoying for the listener.
For the most of presentations, it’s the best to have question and answer part at the end of the presentation, although it’s sometimes very convenient to answer questions during the presentation. That allows you to deal with possible misunderstanding immediately, but this can also disrupt you and distract you from your plan. If question period is at the end of the presentation, make sure you have a conclusion after the question period. Set a time limit for questions, usually 10 minutes will be quite enough. Listen to question carefully and threat your audience with respect. Answer directly, briefly and if you don’t know the answer, it’s always the best to admit it and offer them to find it out later.
Get some feedback
Getting a feedback from the audience is always a good way to understand what you did well and what not. Using the information you get, you can improve your next presentations. There are many ways to get feedback. You can directly ask your audience to tell you what they liked and what not, you can ask your friend to sit in the audience and listen to comments during and after the presentation or you can even consider filming your presentation.