PRESENTATIONS: HOW TO MASTER YOUR NEXT PRESENTATION

Got a presentation coming up soon? Or panicking about public speaking? Panic over!

Having to perform a presentation with or without visuals can be extremely daunting. Whether you’re presenting to clients, superiors or employees, public speaking is a skill many are yet to master.

Presentations are delivered through verbal and non-verbal communication. If you have mastered verbal communication, but your non-verbal communication is below par, your overall presentation will be below par. And Visa-Versa.

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When speaking it’s important to time your pauses perfectly, tension caused by a pause grabs the listeners’ attention. Encourage and incorporate short but well-placed cliff hangers into your speech so they hang on your every word.

Pitch and tone are also crucial skills to master, so be sure not to end sentences in a higher pitch than you started them. If your voice raises in pitch toward the end of a sentence or word, it sounds like you’re questioning yourself, therefore the listeners will not feel convinced or persuaded by your presentation.

4175536Projecting your voice is crucial in any speech or presentation. You must always aim to fill the room; be confident in what you’re saying and believe in what you’re talking about. You must take control of the room, and engage with your listeners instantly. Make them interested in what you have to say. It’s hard for people to stop listening to you if you care so passionately about what you’re presenting. Bare this in mind; the more passionate, knowledgeable and confident you sound, the more passionate, knowledgeable and confident they will feel in you.

If you’re presenting using visuals aids (Powerpoint, Keynote, etc.) you should not give a copy of your speech to your audience. They will automatically tune out because they can read it later, no matter how well you perform. Also it’s important to recognise the difference in visuals that you should and shouldn’t use. Keep your fonts simple and minimal, don’t use thousands of different fonts because you can’t decide, or because you want to “show off” your font selection ability. It’s very difficult to read and takes focus away from the subject.

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Don’t do this, or anything close to it! ^^

Use minimal pictures per page (and make them stand out), our brains remember pictures easier than words. Choose one picture per page, and drive what you’re saying through the picture, either literally or metaphorically. Do not use hundreds of “out of place” pictures on one page, it will make your audience lose interest.

Graphs, who doesn’t love a good graph? Everyone, everyone doesn’t love a good graph. Graphs are unoriginal, boring and lazy. Instead of inserting numbers with pretty colours; try using a real life comparison and a picture to metaphorically explain your statistics. For example, instead of saying, “Approximately 130,000 km² will be affected by this drought” while displaying a graph. Try, “The entire area of England will be infected by this drought” displaying a picture. The audience will be able to relate to something they’re more aware of. More people can relate to common knowledge than numbers.

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