The day is here! You’ve researched, prepped and put your heart and soul into this presentation. You walk in excited and ready to share your ideas! However, not even halfway through you begin to notice your audience isn’t quite as engaged as you’d hoped for, or have maybe even tuned out entirely.
Does this sound familiar? If so, that’s okay! While it may seem like only a few naturally gifted individuals have mastered giving brilliant presentations, that’s simply not the case. With a little guidance and a lot of practice, you too can feel confident going into your next big presentation.
Read on to learn about 4 common presentation blunders and how you can fix them!
Skip The Flat Intro
Often times, we start off a presentation by trying to give our audience a solid understanding of what we’re about to share. Sadly, this strategy has overlooked a very important part of the information sharing cycle: building trust and relatability. People tend to respond better to receiving information from individuals they consider trust worthy or relatable in some way.
So how does one go about achieving this crucial connection? By sharing a funny or compelling yet relatable story! While it may seem odd to be telling stories at a presentation, think of it as the perfect ice breaker.
Once you find the story you’d like to tell, practice until it is perfected! Starting off confident with a strong lead in helps put the rest of your presentation in a good flow.
Avoid Too Much Text
You know what they say: a picture is worth a thousand words. Instead of boring your audience with slides covered in text, add appropriate images that convey your message more visually. After all, text, they can read themselves. It’s your job to paint a picture to help get them in the right mindset.
A very cool fact in relation to using images is that because light travels faster than sound, people are able to process things that they see much quicker than what they hear or what they are able to read.
Establish Eye Contact
Another common issue is the failure to establish eye contact. For some it’s because they are shy, but for others, it’s as simple as not really knowing where to look (or even begin looking.) When this feeling hits, it’s important to remember that those in attendance are there because they want to learn from you and connect.
A great way to overcome this hurdle is by using the 4-quadrant Method - for large audiences, divide the room up into 4 quadrants, focus your eye contact on each of the four quadrants in a random periodic manner. Remember to settle on an audience member every now and then to make eye contact and hold it to complete a thought or sentence. This helps to encourage a deeper connection.
Learn To Calm Your Voice
A key part of presenting includes being vocal. If you sound nervous or have a tremble in your voice, it can definitely detract from your overall message. And while it’s totally understandable to feel uncomfortable with public speaking, it’s not an excuse to let your presentation slip.
Before you speak, stand on one foot, close your eyes, extend your arms and press your middle finger against your thumb on each hand, now count backward from 10 to 1. This will take your mind off of what you are going to say and allow you to refocus.
Using distracting yet calming techniques can help to clear your mind immensely. If you aren’t in a position to extend your body, simply close your eyes, focus on your breathing and count backward from 10 to 1. This may not give you a fully calming effect but even a little goes a long way.
Giving presentations doesn't have to be terrifying or even a disappointing event. With these 4 easy and actionable tips, you can polish your presentation skills. As you practice daily, you’ll notice huge improvements and by the time that next presentation comes around, you’ll be able to confidently walk in and deliver your message with ease!
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