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Presentation Skills | Importance, Elements and Tips

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Started delivering a presentation and soon becoming anxious, stumbling upon your words, losing concentration, and eventually fail to make an effective and good presentation.

What’s the reason for an ineffective presentation? Do you lack good speaking skills? The content wasn’t good?

Well the basic reason for ineffectiveness is lacking good presenting skills.

Doesn’t it sound so simple? But the reality is that Presentation Skills not only involves speaking while looking at slides, but it involves a series of elements to be followed.

Why many of you fail in making an effective speech? Not only you but most of us(including me) fail because we have misunderstood the actual meaning of presentation.

The misconception about the presentation is that it’s all about reading what’s written on the slides. If the main purpose of presenting was to speak what’s written on the slide then why there should be an audience? They can even watch and read what’s there on the slide.

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of presentations and could find the changes in my presenting skills from the day I delivered my first presentation. Though I am not a well-articulated presenter/speaker, but all through these years I was able to add a bit of confidence, focus, engagement, and better engaging content to my next presentation.

Why is it that some are good speakers and others not? Are they born with such ability?

No, they are not born having such good ability or skills rather they work on it. All the fast heartbeats and nerve-racking feelings most of us experience before presenting and may feel until it is over.

Don’t worry let’s work and learn certain skills to help calm your adrenaline rush

Having good and effective presentation skill is achievable, you just need to put in some work

Let’s get to know what is a presentation and the skills required to make it effective and engaging.

WHAT IS PRESENTATION?

The presentation meaning can be defined as a formal way of demonstrating or communicating an audience to inform, inspire, or motivate them using both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication.

The presentation with PowerPoint, visuals, graphs, tables are more effective and your aim is to elaborate on those points and visuals and inform the audience what the presentation is all about.

The Ideal scenario usually involves 10–12 people in a conference room, but there are several circumstances where you find to give a presentation where the number of audiences can range from 1 to 1000. Circumstances include-

  • Talk in lectures and seminars
  • Presentation in an interview
  • Speeches on social occasions like birthday parties, weddings, etc.
  • Presenting to large groups

Depending on the type of scenario the style of presenting, it’s content, tone of voice, and engagement of the audience changes.

WHY PRESENTATION SKILLS ARE IMPORTANT?

Most of us deliver presentations without knowing the impact and importance of these skills in our life and career. Having good presenting skills resembles your personality, how well you are aware to present yourself in various situations, and tackling your audience effectively and efficiently.

Good communication and presentation skills give a perfect start to your career, rather your professional career starts with an interview which requires both the skills.

Understanding the importance of presenting skills and working on the skills that lead to a great presentation will give a significant boost to your professional career.

ELEMENTS INVOLVED IN A PRESENTATION

As discussed earlier presenting is not only about speaking but a series of elements are included to make an effective presentation. The elements include-

Content

Delivering the right content to the right audience using the right medium. Here the right medium refers to the use of visuals and data instead of long paragraphs. No audience will be interested in reading long paragraphs, rather they prefer graphs, data, and visuals for better understanding.

A presentation having graphs, analysis, collected data, comparison charts, etc will lead to greater audience engagement and a better understanding of the content.

group of people working on content, graphs and diagrams
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Presenter

When you deliver a presentation you are the sole controller of the room. No discussion or any sort of interaction takes place until you start. You shouldn’t be the only one speaking rather initiate interaction and encourage others to take part.

A presentation being presented to the audience
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Dress Code

Wearing a t-shirt while presenting in an interview will give a negative impression to the interviewer and eventually losing the job opportunity. Depending upon the nature of the presentation dress code depends.

For instance, A speech at a wedding party where there are hundreds of audiences/guests present you can either wear formal or traditional wedding dress code as per the occasion.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t opt for informal attire while delivering to your superiors/subordinates in a working environment.

Meeting taking place with formal dress code
Photo from Pexels

Message

What message are you trying to convey through your presentation? Are you trying to motivate? Demonstrate? Or inform? If your talk is about workout motivation, don’t change the topic, and choose to speak on another, the audience is unlikely to realize what you are trying to present.

Not only words to convey your message but use gestures, eye contact, visuals, and graphs. In other words, use both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication for an effective presentation.

A message is being conveyed to audience by the presenter
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Audience

The main target of any lecture, speech, or talk is the audience since you are informing, delivering, or motivating your audience. Delivering for the sake of presenting is ineffective rather it’s completely useless, for an effective presentation you need audience engagement for sharing your useful insight with them.

Try making your audience to get engaged with your content, ask them questions, and let them share their views on the topic. In this way, more questions and views will come from the audience.

The greater engagement the greater presentation.

Audience engaging with the presenter
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SKILLS TO IMPROVE PRESENTATION

Be Confident

Taking over the podium and facing your audience is the very first step of being confident, informing and interaction comes later. Facing your audience is the most fearful thing, and if you can gather enough confidence to face them then the entire presentation becomes effective and smooth.

A point to remember both overconfidence and under confidence leads to an ineffective presentation. An overconfident presenter will keep on interacting not letting the audience interact. On the other hand, the interaction level of an underconfident person is so less that the audience is left with nothing to interact with.

A perfect balance between over and under confidence leads to a perfect presentation.

Use Gestures

Imagine a person standing in attention position and addressing the audience, will you enjoy it? Obviously no, instead the audience will get irritated and leave the presentation.

Using your hands, gestures, and walking around the podium/stage will make people think that something useful is being presented. People would love to interact with you and give their opinions on the topic. The use of gestures or moving around may sound waste but it stimulates the audience to interact and make the session more interactive.

Content

It is a basic way to engage your audience, the more point to point information more engaging. What will you prefer?

  • Reading an entire slide to get particular information or,
  • Reading a specific point to get a particular information

It’s obvious that most of you will prefer to read that specific point rather than an entire paragraph to get information. Studies prove that a PowerPoint containing point to point information gets more engagement rather than a whole bunch of slides filled with paragraphs.

It also acts as a script, even if you forget a topic you can refer to that point and continue to deliver. Keep it short and specific.

Turn your Fear into Focus

One of my greatest fear was to stand and speak in front of people. Many of you face the same situation too, but what is the reason behind the fear? Is it what people will think? What will they say behind my back?

The same thoughts were in my head before presenting. But take a minute and think, are they the ones who will decide how well you presented? and why does it matter to you about what they think?

Let me tell you one thing, instead of fear if you focus and deliver regardless of what others will think, you can easily turn your fear into focus.

Practice

In this case, practice doesn’t require any physical activity, all you have to do is talk to yourself. Looking yourself in the mirror and start presenting like you are presenting it to the audience, it shows you how you’re gestures and hand movements are taking place and make changes accordingly.

Practice but don’t Procrastinate whenever you get time, practice while walking while sitting, and try presenting better than yesterday. The more you practice more valuable insight you’ll gain about the effectiveness of your presentation. Record and know where exactly your words get stumbled, find out the reason and work on it.
It’s been rightly said by Anthony Robbins-

It’s what you practice in private that you will be rewarded for in public.

Smile

Keep a smile on your face while presenting, it is the best way to hide your nervousness and fear. Smiling indicates confidence and passion to the audience.

The same formula for confidence goes for smile also, over smiling and under smiling gives a negative impression to the audience.

Don’t Cover Every Topic

Although your slides are point to point and engaging, it’s a fact that most of us include topics that are not directly related to the subject matter of discussion. Skip out topics that are not the subject matter of discussion.

Having too many slides is not a problem, but the ability to present useful and specific slides is really useful.

Use Visuals and Videos

People can relate more to the subject matter when they are presented with visuals, videos, graphs, etc. Facts and figures give a better understanding of the content along with verbal information.

For example — A software engineer verbally presenting on how to write code, but for the audience, it’s just an overview of what coding is. A video or visual will help the audience in getting a greater insight into coding and how to write it. A practical session will be the best way to make your audience understand the entire content.

Watch Other Presentations

Watching other people’s presentations will get you to know the reason behind their effective and engaging presentation. Every speaker has their unique way of presenting, some are audience-focused while others may be content-focused.

My motive here is not to make you follow these speaker’s way of presenting, but getting ideas of several speakers will let you create your unique idea of presentation.

Entertaining

Don’t be serious while presenting or just keep on discussing about content the entire session. Take time to entertain your audience because it refreshes both the presenter and the audience.

Try being humorous and connect it with your subject matter, it not only makes the session entertaining but informative also. Adding a pinch of humor is necessary for your audience to get energized.

Make Your Surrounding Comfortable

Before the presentation, adjust your surroundings according to your comfort level. The more comfortable your surrounding more calmer and less anxious you feel.

Try practicing once before presenting on the stage, it makes feel more confident and comfortable during the main session.

Try

Last and one of the most important aspect in life is to try, carrying the fear of what other people will think is the reason most of us don’t even try. Making yourself a good presenter is not a big deal, the only thing is to take the initial step, try and move forward.

CONCLUSION

A brief summary of what we discussed in this blog post includes

  • What is a presentation and why it is important
  • Elements involved ( Content, Presenter, Dress Code, Message and Audience) and,
  • Skills to improve Presentation.

It’s been rightly said that-

“Every great speaker was bad at the beginning”

But how that bad speaker turned into a great speaker was through practice, consistency and the most important of all is that the Speaker tried to be great.

Life is not easy, it’s always there to kick you, but instead of giving up, get up and try one more time. That one more effort you put in will lead you to your goal.

Being a great presenter is not a big deal, it’s all about learning a new aspect every time you try.

What was your experience as a Presenter? Were you nervous and anxious? Let me know about your experience!

Originally published at https://www.thefinerversion.com.


Presentation Skills | Importance, Elements and Tips was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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