We all know there’s more to a brilliant presentation than well written words.
“When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey. A successful talk is a little miracle—people see the world differently afterward.” — Chris Anderson
The best kind are transformative, for the speaker and the audience — words and their delivery have real power. Whether you often get nervous during presentations or are a seasoned speaker, these public speaking tips and tricks will equip you for any event that comes your way!
Creating the content
Structure your presentation around a story
A great story is at the heart of every great presentation. Why? Because ‘humans are wired to listen to stories’. Narratives and metaphors place audiences into the shoes of the protagonist — it encourages the audience to have a vested interest in the presentation. When you’re creating your presentation, structure the content around a central story, following a rough path of problem to aha moment to solution.
Create an image rich, text light presentation
Everyone can remember an instance where presentation slides were a let down. Perhaps there was too much text to read. Perhaps the images were distracting and misaligned to the content. While a great presentation is essential, getting it right is all about the balance.
When creating your presentation, keep your text to the minimum — there’s nothing more mindnumbing than a presenter who just reads off the slides! An image rich, text light presentation is a win. Useful resources for sourcing free and high quality stock images include: Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash.
Making your content accessible
As a professional speaker, there are times where you’re required to present at multiple venues across different cities or countries – and there’s nothing worse than losing a copy of your most up-to-date presentation right before an event. Whether it’s a version control issue, a misplaced USB drive or a laptop crashing on you, having a plan B is key to avoiding any hiccups.
TeamSlide’s integration with Powerpoint means that your slides can be uploaded and downloaded from the cloud with a single click. And with our intelligent algorithms, searching for specific content becomes incredibly easy so you’re not flipping through every deck you’ve ever created. Manage all your content on one platform and make it easy to access your content anywhere and on any device.
So you’ve got your presentation in tip top shape for the big day. In the precious few minutes before walking on stage, there are few habits you should adopt.
Drink warm or room temperature water, with lemon
We’ve all been there — nerves can make your throat do all sorts of things. Warm or room temperature, coupled with a splash of lemon, can help alleviate the throat dryness. Where possible, ditch the ice cold water, carbonated drinks and dairy products which all exacerbate those issues.
Talk to as many people as possible
Does the thought of speaking in front of so many faceless strangers still give you the tingles? The best way to conquer this is to simply talk to the audience — as many people as you can before the presentation. As you put more names to faces, you may even gain ideas and
At the end of the day, audience and speaker interaction is a win — engaged audiences are the best kind. Consider whether your presentation will have a Q&A component or a live polling feature.
During nerve wracking moments, the first instinct is to frown. However, this is the opposite of what you should do. Smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, helps trigger endorphins, relax muscles and calm nerves.
After all that preparation and practice, it’s time for delivering your presentation. Truth is, delivery can make or break your presentation. When you’re on that stage, keep these three factors in mind.
The success of delivery is all in how well you can immerse your audience in the story you’re telling — and there’s nothing like eye contact to really engage and connect with your audience. Choose a handful of people scattered across the room, potentially people you’ve met before, to maintain eye contact with throughout. Ensure you don’t focus on just one segment of the audience (or even worse, just one individual) — it’s obvious and disconcerting.
Confidence boosting poses
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has performed extensive research on how “body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves”. There are several body postures you can do before, during and after to boost your confidence and get you in the right mindset.
Move on stage
Avoid standing in a single spot throughout the whole presentation. Try not to pace back and forth, treading over the same pattern either – as this may seem rehearsed and forced. Instead, let the delivery look and feel natural by letting movement be guided by your speech and the audience’s reaction – it’s okay to stand at parts and move during others. Treat your movement like you would if you were having a conversation with friends or family.
Take note of hand gestures
Did you know: hands open with palms open convey certainty in what you’re talking about.
We all know body language plays a big part in how people perceive you. One of the best presentation tips you can try is to simply change up your hand gestures. As you practice your presentation, keep an eye out for how you naturally use hand gestures and alter where appropriate to emphasise a point.
Involve your audience
Communication is a two way street. Yes, you’re the main event when presenting but if you’re talking ‘at’ your audience there’s a good chance they’ll tune out quickly. Instead, get your audience to sit up, lean in and be active participants – ask them questions, hear their comments and don’t be afraid to veer slightly from your slides if a point of interest comes up.
Apps like Zeetings are a great option to involve shy audience members, allowing them to add comments or ask questions anonymously.
Over to you
Have you got a presentation around the corner? Whether it’s an internal meeting or a large conference, a great presentation can be transformative and influential. What are your public speaking tips and tricks for delivering an ovation worthy presentation? Share in the comments below!
This post was authored by Robert Kawalsky of Zeetings
Cofounder and CEO, Zeetings
Robert Kawalsky is the CEO and Cofounder of Zeetings, a software company changing the way people present their ideas to the world. Kawalsky is also an active investor and advisor to technology and internet related businesses.