Presentations are an effective way to share knowledge, especially if you want to facilitate discussion. Whether it’s during a course or your career, a good presentation can influence the thoughts and decisions of your peers. Your ability to communicate effectively and give a well-rounded presentation can be fundamental to your success.
Public speaking is a skill, so it’s important that you start with the basics when preparing your presentation. Ensure that your attire fits with the setting. If your presentation is for a degree or personal review, dress to impress. Otherwise, dressing casually will set a more comfortable and light tone. For video calls, set up your camera in an area that isn’t distracting and has a tidy background.
When speaking to a group, you need to speak loudly and clearly. You should also keep a steady pace, being careful not to rush or drag through it. Be mindful of your language by avoiding the use of filler words and jargon. Ironing out these details will help you better share your message. It never hurts to practice beforehand as well.
However, having the basics down doesn’t guarantee a great presentation. In order for your speech to make an impact, it needs to be engaging. By using some key techniques, you will hold people’s attention and encourage interest.
When you’re showcasing a product or solution to your audience, you want them to walk away with a good understanding of what the product does. Including visuals of your products will give people insight into what the product looks like and how it’s used. If you’re discussing a physical product, bring an example with you. Depending on the size of the group, you may be able to pass it around the room.
In today’s modern age, not all ideas or products are physical. There are still ways to show the hands-on experience if you are speaking about a digital strategy or software. Playing videos that show a platform in use will increase the understanding of its real-world application. You can use a screen recorder to demonstrate how the platform works as well. Recording in advance will help you avoid technical issues the day of and can allow you to add a personal touch.
When the topic of your project is complex, you may need to be strategic in relaying your message. Don’t assume that all listeners are experts in your field. Using the storytelling method will help you guide the discussion in a way that makes your topic easy to understand. This technique is also useful for persuasive efforts.
You will start the presentation by identifying and explaining the main issue. From there, you can begin to discuss the potential solutions or what you envision. You may repeat these steps for multiple points if needed. Once you’ve discussed your main arguments you’ll want to end your speech with a strong conclusion. Giving a call to action will make your final words resonate with listeners.
Presentations are the most impactful when you get your audience involved. Before diving into your slides, quiz your audience on what knowledge they already have on the topic. Use polls to motivate the group to reflect and understand where their opinions and behaviors lie. Asking questions throughout your speech reels people in and keeps them thinking critically about the information you’re presenting.
For tutorials or training sessions, you can encourage your group to follow along in real time. Advise your audience to bring any required materials to the presentation. Allowing people to do the task as you’re teaching them will keep them engaged, and it is a more effective way to learn. This also provides a great space for you to offer support if anyone is struggling.
It may feel tempting to put all of your points on the slides, but they shouldn’t be filled with text. If they are, your listeners may start to read off the screen. Ideally, your audience should be paying more attention to what you’re saying. Stay away from including full sentences and keep your information to a few bullet points per slide.
If you’re struggling to remember facts, jot down your points on some notecards. Some platforms even let you write yourself notes in “presentation mode,” which means you can have your cues at your fingertips while delivering a seamless presentation. Use themes and colors to your advantage as well, keeping this consistent, and include charts or graphics for any statistics that prove your arguments.
Your presentation doesn’t have to be serious to be informative. Incorporating some humor can help keep people’s attention and encourage their interest in the topic. Depending on the setting, it may be appropriate to include some fun memes or gifs that are relevant to the information you’re giving. You could always make your own as well!
Play some music before or after your presentation to get your group into a good mood. Giving the presentation while sitting down can help make the experience more casual, and may motivate more participation from your audience. No matter what you do, relax. Take a breath, and deliver a unique presentation given by the one and only you.
Giving an engaging presentation is all about being creative with the resources you have. Incorporating a variety of visuals and strategies in your presentation will grab your audience’s attention and leave them wanting more. Hopefully, they’ll also learn a thing or two.
Angela Spearman is a journalist at EzineMark who enjoys writing about the latest trending technology and business news.