6 Simple Tips for the Reluctant Presenter

by
Beth Osborne

The biggest fear for many people is public speaking. They’d rather have a root canal without anesthesia than get in front of a crowd and present. However, most professionals will at some point have to deliver a presentation whether they want to or not. If you want to make the most of your time and relieve some stress, you’ll find these presentation tips to be very valuable. 

Keep It Simple by Using Visuals

Avoid getting too deep in the weeds with your speaking script. Your presentation can cover a lot of details with smart, well-designed data visualizations, charts and diagrams. Our brains are wired for visuals, so use them as often as you can.

Align Everything with Your Main Message

Everything you present, whether spoken or shown on slides, should support your presentation’s main message. Hone this into a one or two sentence “big picture” phrase. This will help you determine what stays and what goes.

Make Eye Contact

Looking at the audience is actually a great way to calm your nerves. Your audience wants to hear what you have to say. So, look up and smile. Seems simple enough, yet you’ve all sat through a presentation where the speaker never looked up. That probably led to you being disengaged and retaining little of the information presented. Whereas when you look up and smile, you’re building rapport with the audience and inviting them into the conversation. It will lead to better retention and engagement. 

Tell Stories and Use Examples

Everyone loves a great story. As humans, we are basically programmed to respond to them. That’s why you need to include them in your presentation. Audiences are more likely to remember stories than bullet points. Stories elicit emotion. This emotional reaction will linger and keep your message fresh in their minds.

Start Strong

Kick off your presentation with something that grabs your audience’s attention. Use what’s on the screen as part of your opening. It could be a striking, thought-provoking image or some “Did You Know” facts. Just as any blog or article should start with a hook, your presentation should, too. To decide where to start, consider what the most intriguing part of your core message is. For example, if you are presenting the findings from a survey, determine one of the most interesting insights found—something the audience would want to know or be surprised to discover. 

Make It a Conversation

Your presentation shouldn’t be all about you. In fact, it should focus on your audience and what matters to them. It’s their experience that you want to be memorable. So, invite them to be a part of the presentation by asking questions and encouraging interaction. When you make your presentation a conversation, your audience will feel part of it, not just a bystander. They’ll be active listeners not passive, which is exactly what you want.  

Becoming a presentation pro isn’t something to sweat about. With a strong presentation on the screen and these helpful tips, even the most reluctant presenter will shine.

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