Don't Shy Away: Tips to Improve Presention Skills

The following pointers can help to improve presentation skills.

Public speaking is often cited as one of the biggest fears people face. However, in today’s corporate America, employees are called upon more and more to give presentations to both small and large groups. Rather than shying away from careers that call for presentation skills, work on overcoming the fear and improving. Becoming a skilled presenter can open doors and help elevate careers. These tips can help you prepare for and improve presentations.

Know your audience and speak to them appropriately. Keep the topic relevant and interesting. Use terminology they understand and avoid getting caught up in acronyms and buzz words.

Engage the audience with interesting facts or humorous anecdotes. Watch audience expressions to gauge whether or not they are following you. If you see blanks faces or audience members counting the ceiling tiles, then you know you have lost them.

Rehearse out loud. Practice makes perfect, so spend some time not only reading through the material, but actually practicing out loud. Try to avoid sounding too rehearsed, though. Don’t memorize every single word. That will come across as robotic and forced. Instead, try typing up some key phrases or compete a brief outline. Practice by speaking those key phrases out loud and you will come across as natural and knowledgeable.

You may also try rehearsing in front of a mirror. Watch your facial expression, body language and gestures. Are you smiling or frowning? Stiff or relaxed? Are your arms folded in somewhat of a defensive stance? Or do you move easily and naturally with relaxed hand and arm movements?

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing are also helpful. This will help you speak slowly and clearly. Make sure to pause when necessary and enunciate. Sometimes, when in front of a group, we tend to speak more rapidly than we realize because of our adrenaline and anxiety. Try to be aware of this and slow down.

Keep listeners engaged with visuals and graphics. Don’t go overboard, but visuals will break up the monotony. Use visuals and graphics. Breaks up monotony of long monologue and keeps listeners engaged. Humor is also a good way to interact with the audience. Don’t try to be a comedian, though. Some people just aren’t funny, and attempts at humor are awkward if it’s forced.

Finally, go with the flow. Equipment will fail. You may stutter, stumble or mispronounce words. People may ask questions you can’t answer. It’s okay. These things happen and no one expects you to be perfect. But if you are able to roll with the punches and even laugh at yourself, you will find your comfort level increasing and skills improving. Pretty soon you will be presenting like a pro.