It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. ~ Mark Twain
Excellent presentation skills are something we think a consultant, trainer, or professional speaker should do well, right?
Sure. But it’s just as important for the average person – the non-presenter – to have some good public speaking skills.
Whether you are asking for a raise, interviewing for a job, giving a report at a meeting, asking for money for a project, or just about anything else, you need to do a good job getting your point across in a compelling way.
It doesn’t matter what position you hold at your organization, there will be a time – maybe sooner than later – that you will need to make a short presentation. And, don’t let the size of your audience fool you. It could be just one person. It’s the same as speaking to a larger group – you need to be clear and prepared.
So, no more excuses! Here are some easy tips to help you be ready for your next presentation.
Here are my not-so top secret , tried and true, Tips for Improving Your Presentation skills:
1) Keep it simple. Be concise and use plain talk. Write out what you want to say ahead of time, then take out all the unnecessary words. Stay away from jargon, acronyms and words that are confusing or no one else will understand. We often try too hard to make a presentation impressive, when we really need to focus on getting a clear message across.
2) Make sure you know what your message is. Ask yourself – what is my purpose? What message to I want to get across? Are you trying to inform, persuade, or excite? Think about the goal of your presentation. Then plan to meet the goal by staying on your message.
3) Be prepared. Do your homework. One of the most common mistakes is the “presentation fake.” Don’t fake it. Stick with a plan and some good notes. And please don’t ramble.
4) Practice. Then practice some more. This is the absolute best way to get more comfortable speaking in front of others and to hedge against nervousness. Don’t wing it. Practice by yourself, or with a colleague – just don’t forget this tip. To get some extra practice, volunteer to take the lead on a project, to run a meeting, or give a short report. Start simple and do it often.
5) Slow down. Most of us talk too fast, and when we are nervous or uncomfortable we talk even faster. Put some scheduled pauses in your presentation, take a breath, and ask questions to force yourself to speak slowly and distinctly so your message is heard.
Now, go put these tips to good use! And, if you have some more presentation tips to add to the list, please leave a comment and share!
Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home.
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