It will come a time in your professional life when you find yourself preparing an oral presentation. Whether you’ll be speaking in front of a small group or a large audience, writing your speech may be as stressful as preparing yourself for show-time. Shy or not, if you weren’t born a skilled presenter there’s nothing to worry about.
- - Clearly identify the subject and main objective of the presentation: if you don’t know what you are going to talk about and what you should achieve, you can’t expect a positive reaction from your audience.
- - Write down your key words and main arguments that you should repeat and reinforce during your speech. Then try to connect them logically as if you were telling a story.
- - Pay attention on what you want to say and how you want to say it. Remember that trying to look too smart will lose your audience’s attention.
- - If you are using graphics or projecting slides, remember that these should go with what you are saying and not just repeat exactly the same information. Remember that visual resources should be considered an aid to your words.
- - Know your audience: there isn’t a single message that will fit everyone. Try to know what your audience wants, likes, hates and identifies with to use it in your favor.
- - Prepare and rehearse: try repeating the speech once or twice (if it’s in front of a mirror that would be even better). Speak calmly but make some voice differences so you control the rhythm of the presentation. Don’t walk too much but don’t stay still either. Use your hands to emphasize your words (silence is a great resource too).
- - Write down probable questions: if your oral presentation is going to include questions, try writing down any possible inquiries that may blank you or make you answer about things you don’t master. The more you are prepared to be ambushed, the more you are going to look like a professional.
- - Create a friendly atmosphere, you are all there to share knowledge and learn.
- - Be confident about what you are saying and try controlling personal tics you might have.
- - Remember that what people remember the most are first and last arguments. Make an outstanding introduction and don’t forget to flash them with a conclusion that will leave them thinking about your whole presentation.
- - Manage your time: what leads us back to point 4. Don’t lock yourself into an argument labyrinth and try to be as clear as possible while highlighting key points.
- - Show yourself open to interaction after your presentation is over. It is a nice gesture to offer an email for further questions or opinions that your listeners may have.
Extra tip: try to have fun and see yourself as the person who is sharing new informations with your audience. It’s your time to be heard and deliver an outstanding presentation.