Talking in front of an audience can be quite nerve-wracking, especially if you are not used to public talking.
If there is an important presentation that you need to deliver, it is important to prepare for it properly. Otherwise, you risk losing respect from your peers and even getting demoted depending on how important the presentation is.
If you do not wish to mess up, be sure to spend enough time preparing for the presentation. The tips below should come in handy for the preparation.
Use Available Resources
Start by creating a plan. Make bullet points for each topic you want to cover and expand them into paragraphs that you will tell the audience.
Of course, a lot depends on the time you have. You do not want to spend too much on one topic if it means sacrificing another topic.
Once you have the plan, look for as many relevant resources as you can and get working on that presentation. Read articles, talk with coworkers, and even extract images from pdf files if you need them for the presentation.
The more preparation you do, the more solid your presentation will be, and you should have an easier time impressing the audience.
Practice in Front of Others
The old “practice makes perfect” cliche works quite well when it comes to speaking in front of a live audience.
Recreating the same situation where you feel the tension and are trying your best is more or less impossible, but you should still ask some people to help you out.
Practicing in front of other people will give you a general feeling of what you can expect when the presentation day comes. And the more you practice, the smoother your presentation should go.
Focus on Visuals
Even if you are a natural speaker, it is still difficult to keep an audience interested with only words. Take advantage of the fact that you are giving a presentation and use visuals.
Similar to how visual information is effective in marketing, it will also be more effective in your presentation since your goal is to sell your points and receive positive feedback from the audience after the presentation is over.
Include infographics, pictures, videos, statistics, and any other visuals which will spice the presentation up. A dry text with no breaks will bore the listeners in a matter of minutes.
On the other hand, visual aids will support your points and give the presentation a more professional look. Keep that in mind when you are preparing slides. Also, do not include too much text in the slides.
Instead, use bullet points and memorize what you have to say about each point. Cluttering slides with a wall of text is another sign of someone who prepared for their presentation poorly.
If you are uncertain how a professional presentation should look like, ask someone who has experience with it.
Stick to Simple Language
Your presentation may include difficult phrases and industry-related terms. Some people might not have a problem understanding these difficult words, but you should consider that not every member of the audience is familiar with the industry jargon.
As a rule of thumb, you should stick to simple words and not complicate things for the audience.
Sure, there is an argument to be made about how using relevant keywords makes you look more professional. However, the primary object of a presentation is to make clear points to the audience, and using hard words will not help with that.
Involve the Audience
Involving an audience could be a good way to keep them engaged. Moreover, you will also have a few moments to take a breath and regroup.
The problem is figuring out how to involve your audience. In some presentations, it is possible to ask questions. Giving a pen and a piece of paper to everyone in the audience and asking them to write their thoughts could also be one of the options.
A joke here and there when it is appropriate is also a good piece of advice. On the other hand, there are instances when a presenter goes too far with the comedy and loses their credibility, particularly if it is in front of an audience they do not know. Remember that when preparing for your presentation.
Prepare for Potential Questions
Once you are finished, you will likely receive some questions from the audience. Take some time and think about what kind of questions you can expect.
Failing to answer questions is not a good sign, and you can expect negative reactions from those who spent time listening to your presentation.
Discuss your presentation with someone and ask them what questions they would likely ask after the presentation was over. This should give you a better idea of what to expect from the real audience.