Some people make giving great presentations look effortless, like they were born in front of a microphone.
But for most of us, the thought of standing up in front of an audience and making a speech is nerve racking at best.
In fact, as shocking as it may seem, some studies show that many people fear public speaking more than death!
So, to help you prepare for your next turn on centre stage here are 7 simple but effective tips to help you look and feel like a natural born orator.
1. Structure Your Presentation Like a Story.
This great technique helps you remember the flow of your presentation and keeps the audience hooked.
I mean, who doesn’t like a good story?
The key is to have great beginning, an interesting middle and a strong end. The main subject of the presentation can be the central character, the enemy can be the problems or challenges, and the end part can be the solutions.
It’s a simple but hugely effective hack.
2. Have ‘Something to Say’.
Sounds obvious right?
But you would be surprised how many people forget this crucial piece of advice.
When you stand up in front of your audience make sure that not only do you have something interesting and informative to say, but you deliver it clearly and with passion.
3. Keep Your Audience Engaged
The thing about us humans is that unless we are really interested in something our attention span does have a tendency to wander.
Apparently we can only focus on something for about 5 minutes.
So…to keep your audience engaged here is a little tip; every 3 to 5 minutes say something like “but here is an interesting thing…..” or “you might be surprised to learn that….”
Just make sure that whatever you do say is actually a) an interesting fact and b) relevant!
Which brings us nicely on to the next point…
4. Ensure the Content is RELEVANT.
Not only do you need to know your subject, but you also need to ensure everything you say is relevant.
Write down all the points you want to make beforehand and then go through them and get rid of the least important half.
Then do the same again.
You should now be left with only the points that are totally relevant
5. Remember Body Language
Body language is important, but it’s easy to forget this when you are delivering a presentation and have a hundred and one other things to think about.
The fact is, from the moment you stand up to make your speech, all eyes will be on you.
The important areas to consider include your posture, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, and overall appearance i.e. dress and personal grooming.
You need to make sure that ALL these work for you and never against you.
Remember the old adage “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression”.
6. Cultivate a Powerful Speaking Voice
What’s the point of preparing a killer presentation and looking a million dollars if your audience can’t hear or understand you?
There are several aspects to developing a strong speaking voice. The first and most vital is to breathe properly. Fill your lungs with air and use your sternum to project your voice like a big loud bass speaker.
Next you need to articulate correctly and pronounce every syllable C L E A R L Y.
No ums or errs or useless filler words like ‘basically’. It can also be useful to adopt a downward inflection on the end of your sentences to convey authority.
7. Practice Makes Perfect!
The last and possibly most important tip to making a great presentation is to practice and then practice some more.
You should be practicing every day for days if not weeks before the presentation; ideally recording (and watching) yourself as well as speaking in front of friends, family and pets.
Fine tune the presentation so that you know exactly what you want to say, how you are going to say it and for how long (to the second).
Follow these tips and by the time you come to delivering your speech it should be second nature and you will be able to roll it out like a pro without a care in the world.