31st March, 2016
It is the day of the presentation, and you are well-prepared. You have spent hours doing research and putting the presentation together – but despite this, you are worried that something may go wrong.
Most people get nervous before delivering a presentation, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are things that anyone can do to make sure their audience pays attention and remembers.
If you want to improve your presentation skills, check out 8 things that keynote speakers do to make sure they deliver a captivating presentation.
1. State your main points at the beginning, middle and end of your presentation
Repeatedly going back to your main points will help the audience to stay focused – and they are also more likely to remember the points later, too. Start by introducing the points that you want to make and then flesh them out in the middle of your presentation. Finish your presentation by reminding the audience about your points.
If you know your presentation off by heart, you will feel in control and you will worry less about something going wrong. Read your full presentation out every day in the mirror so that you feel fully comfortable sharing it with other people.
3. Do a run-through on stage beforehand
Visit the venue before your presentation and ask if you can walk through the place where you will be presenting. This means that the setting will be familiar to you, so it will be easier for you to relax.
You can also decide where to walk on from and where to stand, so that you can clear your mind and focus fully on the presentation.
4. Don’t use bullet points
Bullet points may be expected when it comes to presentations, but that doesn’t mean that they are the best option. Many people switch off when they seem bullet points, as they are not interested by them. Instead consider using an interesting image with a sentence to catch the interest of the audience.
5. Don’t speak until you have found your place
You may be tempted to speak as you walk onto the stage, but the audience may interpret this as nervousness. Instead walk onto stage slowly and don’t speak until you have found your place. This will make you seem confident and in control.
6. Speak slowly
Nervous people tend to talk quickly, as they want to finish the presentation quickly. Often they don’t even realize they are doing this, but the audience are always well aware.
Focus on talking slowly and loudly – you may feel a little silly, but you will appear calm and confident and your audience will be captivated by each word.
7. Make eye contact
Often people are tempted to scan the whole room when they present, as they think it looks like they are looking at everyone. This actually isn’t the case; as you don’t directly look at any members of your audience, it can actually make it difficult for them to connect with you – and constantly moving eyes can be pretty distracting, too.
Try to look at members of the audience directly as you talk. When you finish a sentence, move on to another person. This method helps create a connection with the whole audience, as you are speaking to them, not at them.
8. Prepare a closing story
Often towards the end of presentations, the audience starts to lose focus. Regain their attention with an interesting closing story that relates directly to your main points. This will subtly remind them of your main points without being too repetitive, and the story will make them more likely to remember you later.