It’s hard to give presentations. Nearly everyone thinks so, and even the people you know who are great at it certainly weren’t when they first started. To learn how to give great presentations, it just takes practice and experience. With enough experience, it becomes second nature. Here are seven tips to help you along as you master public speaking.
1. Know Your Material
Know your subject matter well. When you know what you’re talking about, this translates into confidence. You can handle questions easily and improvise if needed. However, don’t memorize and simply repeat. Reading to your audience guarantees a dull presentation.
2. Prepare and Practice
Create a good outline that details what you’ll cover. Once your outline is complete, run through your presentation a few times. With just a few practices, it will be much smoother and you’ll have less to think about when you actually give the presentation.
Find a way to get yourself into a relaxed state before you give your presentation. Some people practice deep breathing or creative visualization. You may meditate or listen to some music that gets you into a relaxed state. Find something that puts you at ease and use it.
4. Realize They Want You to Succeed
Many people go in front of an audience terrified of it. You might imagine all of the terrible things the audience must be thinking about you. But the truth is that the audience wants you to succeed. They want a fun, informative presentation that offers them value. Keep in mind that the audience wants to see you do a good job.
5. Use appropriate Humor
A little humor goes a long way in making a presentation easier. Laughter is a great way to relieve tension. Even if your presentation is of a serious nature, approach it with a smile and an introductory joke to calm the tension.
6. Focus on the Content
It’s easy to get self-conscious when you’re giving a presentation. A good way to avoid this is to keep your mind focused on the content of the presentation, not how you look, how you’re standing, what people think, etc. Stay focused on the business at hand.
7. Start Small and Build Experience
Most of all, get out there and do it. Start gaining experience with public speaking as soon as possible. Start with small groups and gradually work your way up. You’ll find that it gets easier as you go along. Toastmasters International is a safe environment in which you can practice presenting and receive feedback.