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Want to give a killer presentation? 8 tips to make it a success

January 28, 2022 - 9 min read

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What are the main difficulties when giving presentations?

How to prepare an effective presentation

After that, how do I give a memorable presentation?

How to connect with the audience when presenting

Public speaking and presenting isn’t everyone’s forte, but it’s a valuable skill, regardless of your job. If you want your voice to be heard, you’ll need to master communicating your thoughts and opinions simply and politely. 

It’s okay if you’re nervous; that’s completely normal. In fact, those jitters are your body’s way of preparing. Giving a speech may seem daunting but you can always implement new strategies to face such challenges and deliver an engaging presentation.

What are the main difficulties when giving presentations?

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Whether you’re a seasoned pro or first-timer, there’s always room to improve your presentation skills. One key is to prepare in advance and prevent common presentation difficulties. 

The most common of worries in school or company presentations include:

  1. Fear of public speaking

  2. Uncertainty of the audience's attention

  3. Not knowing what content, and how much, to place on slides

  4. Doubts over how much nonverbal movement to incorporate

Presenting more will help you know how to handle these issues. For instance, you’ll figure out the right amount of text and images to add to slides.

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How to prepare an effective presentation

Described below are our top five tips to aid you with your next presentation and eliminate associated stress.

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1. Keep it simple

You want your presentation’s ideas to be accessible and easy to follow. As you prepare, ask yourself: what are the key points you want people to take away? Nothing is worse than being stuck watching a presentation that goes on and on that you hardly understand. 

Simplicity is vital if you’re looking to reach a broad and diverse audience. Try placing important points in bullet points. That way, your audience can identify the main takeaways instead of searching for them in a block of text.

2. Create a compelling structure

Pretend you’re an audience member and ask yourself what the best order is for your presentation. Make sure things are cohesive and logical. To keep the presentation interesting, you may need to add in more slides, cut a section, or rearrange the presentation’s structure.

3. Use visual aids

Aim to incorporate photos or videos in your slides. Props can also help reinforce your words. Incorporating props doesn’t lessen your credibility or professionalism but helps illustrate your point when added correctly.

4. Be aware of design techniques and trends

You can use an array of platforms to create a great presentation. Integrating colors, images, graphs, video clips, and animations can liven things up, especially if the information is dry. 

A few standard pointers to consider are: 

  • Don’t put blocks of text on a single slide
  • Use a minimalistic background instead of a busy one 
  • Stick with muted or pastel shades
  • Don’t read everything off the slide. 

Place only your main points on the screen. Then, explain them in detail. Keep the presentation stimulating and appealing without overwhelming your audience with bright colors or too much font.

5. Follow the 10-20-30 rule

Guy Kawasaki, a prominent venture capitalist and one of the original marketing specialists for Apple, said that the best slideshow presentations are less than 10 slides, last no longer than 20 minutes, and use a font size of 30. This strategy helps condense your information and maintain the audience’s focus.

After that, how do I give a memorable presentation?

Here are some tips to keep your audience actively engaged as you’re presenting. With these strategies, the audience will leave the room thinking positively about your work.

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Tip #1: Tell stories

Sharing an event from your life or another anecdote increases your relatability. It also makes the audience feel more comfortable and connected to you. This, in turn, will make you more comfortable presenting.

Tip #2: Smile and make eye contact with the audience

Maintaining eye contact creates a connection between you and the audience and helps the space feel more intimate. It’ll help them pay attention to you and what you’re saying.

Tip #3: Work on your stage presence

Using words is only half the battle regarding good communication; body language is also critical. Avoid crossing your arms or pacing, since this suggests an air of unapproachability or boredom. How you present yourself is just as crucial as how your actual presentation slides appear.

Tip #4: Start strong

Like reading a book, watching a movie, or writing an essay, the beginning is what draws your target audience in. Kick-off your presentation on a solid note. If things start entertainingly, it increases the chances of your presentation being well-received.

Tip #5: Show your passion

Let your passion for a topic shine. The best presentations have a speaker who is genuinely excited about the subject.

Tip #6: Plan your delivery

This step encompasses how you convey the information. What is appropriate for the setting? Preparing a PowerPoint presentation? A teleprompter? An online presentation through Zoom? Should you memorize your notes or plan an activity to compliment your notes? 

The best TED talks, for instance, are usually committed to memory, but there’s nothing wrong with bringing note cards with you as a safety net.

Tip #7: Practice

As the phrase goes, practice makes perfect! Practice giving your speech in front of the bathroom mirror or your spouse or a friend. Take any feedback they give you and don’t feel discouraged if it’s critical or different than you expected. Feedback helps us continually improve. But remember, you can’t please everyone, and that’s fine.

Tip #8: Breathe

Take deep breaths. It’s better to go slow and take time to convey everything you need to instead of rushing and leaving your audience more confused.

How to connect with the audience when presenting

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The best leaders are often some of the best presenters, as they excel at communication and bringing together ideas and people. Every audience is different. But as a general rule, you’ll be able to connect with them if you research your topic so you’re knowledgeable and comfortable. 

Practicing your presentation skills and remembering that every opportunity is a chance to grow will help you keep a positive mindset. 

BetterUp exists for this: to empower and guide you through the ups and downs that compose life’s journey. Presentations can be scary, but BetterUp is here to help you harness your potential and improve your mental fitness, so you’re ready for whatever challenges come along.

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Published January 28, 2022

Shonna Waters, PhD

Vice President of Alliance Solutions

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