Creating a winning presentation takes time and mastery of a few skills. When crafting your presentation, whether it be for school, work, or a fun project, there are two main areas to focus on. There’s the actual presentation, the slides, videos, and whatever physical content you have to share, and there’s you and how you deliver that information. Keep reading to learn how you can make an excellent presentation and deliver it masterfully.
Delivering a fantastic presentation isn’t only about how you present. It’s also about what you present.
Opt for slides, videos, or another visual form to add to your presentation. Visuals can keep viewers engaged, show data, and help explain confusing concepts.
Before you start creating your presentation, organize your thoughts. What information should you explain first? Is there a big surprise that you should save until the end? Consider how the order of contents can keep listeners engaged.
You’re already a pro at your presentation topic, but that doesn’t mean you should stop researching. Before you present is the time to research your presentation, see how others present this information, find commonly asked questions, and be prepared to answer them.
Presentations should be a broad overview of a topic. Keep that in mind when planning what information to include. Keep things simple so that everyone can understand your subject.
Consider who your audience is and think about what they already know and want to learn. Tailor your message to your audience and their interests.
As you plan your presentation, repeat your core ideas throughout the entire talk. Help your audience remember the key concepts.
Leave your audience with a broad-level overview of everything you just told them; this ensures they leave the presentation remembering the main goals of the speech.
If you’re scared to speak in public, you aren’t alone; nearly 77% of the population has a fear of public speaking. These tips will help you calm those nerves and deliver your best presentation.
Perfecting presentation skills without practicing is like expecting to win the Olympics without training. Start by practicing your presentation in an empty room, then once you’re more comfortable, try presenting to a few people.
When you give a presentation with energy, your audience will match that energy. (You don’t want your audience falling asleep!)
Give yourself some extra time before the presentation to get comfortable with the location. Seeing the space before speaking gives you the chance to learn how to click between slides, see where the audience will be sitting, and find where you should stand to ensure everyone can see you.
Arriving early to the venue to set up isn’t only about making sure the presentation runs smoothly—it also gives you a chance to get used to the space. Being comfortable in the environment can help reduce those public speaking jitters.
Take some time to slow down and breathe. Learn a breathing technique to lower your anxiety before you start your presentation.
Connect with your audience and be personable. Smiling shows your audience that you are happy and excited to be presenting.
No one likes to sit and listen to someone drone on for hours. Offer some interaction for your audience. Ask questions, include a game, and find a way to bring your listeners into the presentation.
People like authenticity. Show your audience that you are honest and trustworthy.
The key to giving a smooth presentation is memorizing everything you need to say. Know every word, pause, and gesture.
If you have a time limit, make sure you stay within that limit. Don’t get stuck with no time and half a presentation left to give. If you don’t have a time limit, make sure you keep it brief. Attention spans only last so long—keeping your speech brief could be more impactful.
If you’re feeling anxious, got stuck, or just need a quick break, take a pause. Adding short pauses throughout your presentation gives you time to collect your thoughts and calm down for a moment.
Connect and engage with your audience when you make eye contact. Here’s how to do it right: pick someone on the left side of the room, the center, and the right side and look at them throughout your presentation. The best speakers maintain eye contact for about 5-10 seconds before looking at someone else.
Have you ever wondered why TED Talks are so much more interesting than any other presentations? The answer is that TED speakers are storytellers. Make your presentation more powerful when you tell a story.
Your audience can sense how you feel based on your body language. Keep your arms uncrossed, move slowly, and don’t shift your weight too often. Even if you don’t feel calm, presenting calmness through body language can help you feel more relaxed.
Have you heard the phrase “fake it till you make it?” Well, it can work. Be positive. Tell yourself you will give the best presentation, even if you don’t believe it.
Diffuse the nervous energy with a joke or two. Not only will your audience start to open up to you, but they’ll also be more engaged.
You’ve probably heard about the importance of staying hydrated, and it likely doesn’t have anything to do with public speaking. But stopping and taking a sip of water can be exactly what you need during a stressful presentation. Taking a second to stop and sip some water can give you a moment to pause and gather your thoughts.
Are you looking to improve your public speaking skills? Join Toastmasters to practice your speaking skills. Repetition is the best way to reduce those public speaking jitters.
Feeling comfortable and confident in your speaking skills comes from knowing you’re doing a good job. Get some feedback and learn what you are doing right and make improvements to perfect your presentation skills.
If you tend to feel jittery before speaking publicly, plan a morning workout before big presentations and get rid of that nervous energy.
You won't perform at your best when you don't feel confident. Wear an outfit that makes you feel confident, and it will transfer through to your presentation as well.
A presentation can’t be effective if your audience can’t hear you. Make sure everyone in the room can hear you. Be careful of speaking too loudly if you have a microphone.
Nervous speakers tend to speak quickly, so make sure to practice slowing down. Include pauses, and practice pacing yourself.
When you deliver your presentation, don’t forget to speak to people. Don’t just recite your words—engage with the audience. Smile, laugh with them, ask questions, respond to their reactions.
We live in a world of 15-second video clips and short attention spans. Keeping people engaged requires you to keep them entertained. Use games, visuals, questions, and stories to create interest.
You already know how important it is to engage with your audience during a presentation, but what about afterward? Once the presentation is over, make connections with your audience. We recommend using HiHello digital business cards. Put your unique QR code up at the end of your presentation so everyone in the audience can view your business card.
Having a visual presentation is an excellent way to support your presentation, but it isn’t the entire presentation. Make sure you’re not just standing around waiting for the audience to reach each slide and then moving on. Each slide should offer a visual aid to what you have to say throughout your presentation.
Overusing text can overwhelm viewers and distract them from what you are saying. Try to avoid large blocks of text and opt for more white space and visuals. Your slides should contain just enough content to support what you are saying. Slides are visual aids but should not be the main centerpiece of a presentation.
When you are presenting, you’re sharing a large amount of information at once, and trying to include overly complex information or using fancy words is likely to end up in confusion.
You already know slides should include minimal text, so hopefully, there isn’t much on your slides to read. But if you are reading straight from the slides, not only will you be facing away from your audience, but you’re also repeating what the audience can read for themselves rather than adding something new to the presentation.
Being a professional on your topic of interest and creating a presentation is great, but that doesn’t mean you’re fully prepared to present. Be prepared for the questions you may receive after your present. While you may be a wealth of information, it’s important to be prepared to answer questions that are coming from a different perspective than you may have previously considered.
Main photo by Matheus Bertelli