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For many people, delivering a pitch or an idea to a group is a nightmare, but solid presentation skills are essential if you want to get ahead in your career. The fact is, even the best presenters get nervous before a talk, but they know how to control and even use that nervous energy to their advantage.
But there are many ways you can improve your presentation skills and become a great speaker:
Practise, practise, practise…
Quite simply, the easiest way to improve your presentation skills is to practise – especially in front of a mirror. That way, you can see what looks most effective in terms of body language and facial expressions. The more you practise, the more confident you’ll become.
A good tip here is to watch your speed. It’s easy to talk too fast when you’re nervous. Take your time and use plenty of pauses to focus on what comes next.
Learn from others
Attend presentations with speakers you admire whenever possible. Examine their approach, their body language and execution. Pay close attention to what elicits a reaction from you or the rest of the audience. Try applying the same tactics in your own presentations. Also, you may be interested in our Microsoft training courses.
Use relaxation techniques
Some people have the ability to turn nervous energy into enthusiasm and passion. If that’s not you, then you need to learn how to relax. Whether it’s breathing exercises, chamomile tea, meditation or a walk, find out what helps you get into the right mind-set for when you take centre-stage.
Practise being confident too. If you can exude confidence even when you’re nervous, you’ll put your audience at ease and become much more believable.
Studies have proven the effectiveness of positive visualisation, so instead of worrying about looking bad, visualise going out there and excelling, full of confidence and enthusiasm.
Use positive words and analogies when delivering your topic. If you can get a laugh from your audience, all the better – but be very careful when it comes to humour – it’s not a comedy routine; but humour can add interest and keep your audience engaged.
Finally, plan your presentation down to the last detail using a script at home. Take that script or notes with you on the day in case you get stuck. Ensure you have all the resources you need, including your PowerPoint presentation or Prezi. Make sure you plan for any travel also, the last thing you want is to be late. Make sure you have everything you need in terms of presentation tools and be aware of the layout and facilities/amenities at the venue. You may also wish to consider our advanced presentation skills courses.
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