Not all of us need to be TED speakers, but we can still improve our presentation skills. Here are a couple of tips on how to take your presentations to the next level.
Ditch the slides.
The next time you are planning to make a 30-minute presentation with 30 powerpoint slides, forget it. Why? Your audience will most likely feel exhausted by the time you are done and will not remember the key points of your presentation. If you cannot skip the slides altogether, use as few slides as possible and keep the text to a minimum to keep your audience awake and inspired. Use carefully selected real-life examples to spice up the talk with some storytelling elements. Could you give your presentation using only well thought pictures?
You have probably seen those presentations, where the date of the presentation is all wrong and the presenter keeps on skipping slides since they were from another time and/or for another kind of audience. Giving a well-planned and rehearsed presentation means, you respect your audience. When you know your speech by heart, you can focus fully on your audience and their questions.
Make sure your presentation is shorter rather than being a tad too long. If your presentation is supposed to last for 20 minutes, make it 15. This will leave you with some time for questions and discussions, something your audience will appreciate.
One of the best ways to improve your presentation skills is to film yourself talking in front of an audience. Watch the video and analyse your performance, preferably together with an experienced speaker who can give you constructive feedback. Pay attention to your voice and body language and how you interact with your audience. Improve your weaknesses, play on your strengths, and find your own style.
Have a presentation completely without slides. Please leave a comment and share your experiences – how did your presentation style change when you left the slides out?