Many people struggle with keeping their emotions from interfering with the delivery when it comes to public speaking. Whether it is part of a university assignment or a business meeting, you may be worried the presentation will not be interesting enough or that you will forget vital information, and people will lose interest. So, it can be pretty stressful to create and deliver a good presentation.
However, this gets easier with experience. And if you are still trying to figure out the secrets to capturing the attention of your public and not let your nerves get the best of you, don’t worry. You can learn the skills needed for this. Chances are you will need to practice for a while until you become confident enough, but with the right tools and a willingness to succeed, you can master this action.
There are many experts in public speaking from whom you can “steal” a few tips or tricks when it comes to delivering but also creating a powerful presentation. We have compiled a list with the most valuable aspects to consider that might help you next time you have to present.
Before everything else, researching your topic well is of the utmost importance. If you cover as much as you can, this will prepare you for following-up questions. What’s more, it will help you gain more self-confidence. So, do not underestimate the power of thoroughly conducted research and gathering enough data and facts. Ultimately, this is what will help you build a strong presentation.
A noteworthy mention is not to get carried away, as it might become easy to think every piece of information is significant for fear of not leaving anything out. In fact, this can make you stressed and worried you won’t have the time to include all the vital information. So, while research is crucial, you must keep it relevant to your topic and audience. A good idea would be to extract the most vital aspects that will be part of the presentation to avoid getting overwhelmed by the multitude of information. Make a note of the rest of your research – facts, statistics, or other related but relevant topics. This way, you will be equipped to answer questions or give an additional explanation.
Another essential aspect when conducting research is to keep in mind what you want to accomplish with your presentation. Usually, research questions are a helpful way of keeping you on track as they are focused on a specific issue or situation.
Once you have conducted the research and have a logical order of the presentation, you can begin to structure the slides. You might have heard this before, but when you start creating a PowerPoint presentation, it is crucial not to overcrowd the slides with too much text. If you keep it as simple as possible, your audience will be able to engage better. Otherwise, they will feel overwhelmed with information.
When you structure your presentation, it is recommended you start with a strong introduction. Whether it is a question or a quote, with this method, it is guaranteed you will get the undivided attention of your audience. It might even give you more confidence, as it is a helpful way of remembering what you need to say, rather than starting with statistics or other intimidating information.
PowerPoint has a valuable tool that can help you with memorizing specific details. Below every slide, there is a “note” area that you can use to write vital information that you might need and don’t want to forget, but without having to add it to the slide.
Design and layout
When it comes to your layout, it is vital to keep it as simple and as clean as possible. Besides not using too much text, it would help if you added visuals. For instance, in some slides, you could use a photograph or a video to tell a story and link it to a point you want to make. However, if you decide to use a video, it is important to mention not to choose one that exceeds 30 seconds. You might risk losing the attention of your audience, which could make you stressed.
Another essential aspect when it comes to designing your presentation is to remain consistent. PowerPoint has templates and themes that could help you in keeping the same tone. It is vital you use the same font and style throughout the presentation, as this will make you look professional.
For some presentations, the context might allow you to use music. Although some people are worried this might be an improper way of presenting. However, if you do it properly, it will be an unexpected addition that can enhance the presentation and make the audience intrigued. An idea would be to use online presentation music download tools to get audios in MP3 versions that you can add in PowerPoint. If you choose to use music in your presentation, make sure it is at a steady pace to avoid clarity issues.
As mentioned above, the content of your presentation should be understandable and easy to follow, yet informative and relevant. To keep your audience engaged, a good idea would be to use questions throughout the presentation and not just at the beginning. Besides keeping the public involved, it is also a helpful way for you to remember the information.
Another trick is to try not to exceed ten slides if the context and the nature of the presentation allow you to. Certain exceptions are possible if, for instance, you have a university assignment and you have to fulfill specific requirements.
How you deliver your presentation is the step you probably fear the most. Rehearsing it a couple of times before will help you a great deal to get rid of your nerves and to make sure you are well prepared without feeling the need to read from the slides. Besides, when you are in the practicing phase, it is highly recommended to add a timer, so you are aware of the time.
To make the presentation more interesting, don’t be afraid to use humor if you feel like it may help you. Whether you are at the university or among your co-workers, introducing comedy will make others remember you and pay more attention to your presentation. However, if this is not your style, don’t force it. What would help you when it comes to delivering a presentation is to realize that mistakes can happen, and as long as you are well prepared, you can battle through any mishaps.