Presentation Skills Training 101
Giving a presentation seems easy enough. You’re just getting up and talking, right? And if you get nervous, just picture the audience in their underwear. That’ll solve all your problems. Well, unfortunately, just getting up and talking isn’t easy for everyone. In fact, it’s only easy to a select few. And, contrary to popular belief, picturing your audience in their underwear hurts—not helps—your presentation.
Think about it. Will you be most comfortable talking to a half-nude audience? That might be a bit distracting. Or, at the very least, awkward. Fact of the matter, there’s a lot of bad advice floating around presentation skills training. So, for your benefit, we want to clear the air. Here are a few basic, yet sound, tips for effective public speaking and presentation skills.
Know Your Topic
This should be obvious. But, believe it or not, a number of people get up to speak and know very little about their topic. Naturally, this will spike your nervousness to new heights. One simple question could send you spiraling towards lack of credibility. Whether you’re speaking with an individual or a room full of people, it’s much easier to speak when you know what you’re talking about.
Speak Don’t Read
If you know your topic, this won’t be hard to accomplish. But, if you don’t and simply read from slides or notes, you’re bound to sound like a robot. You’ll lull your audience to sleep, and, at the end of the day, you’ll just look nervous and unprepared. Know what you’re talking about and have an engaging conversation with your audience.
Effective Body Language
Keep your audience on their toes. Speak from different areas. Hiding behind a podium is, for lack of a better word, lame. By moving around and using subtle, yet varied, body language, you’ll energize your audience. Make them think you genuinely care about what you’re saying. Standing in one location, fidgeting, is not effective body language. It’s just annoying.
Make Them Laugh
You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian. And it’s probably not a good time for “dumb blonde” jokes. But, some appropriate humor can propel a presentation towards success. No one wants to hear a robot. Let your personality shine through. Keep your audience interested. Tell a light-hearted joke and let them smile. Remember, smiles are good.