Delivering a presentation, no matter how large or small an audience is, puts you on public display and may be an anxiety-charged task especially if you do not have developed presentation skills. The audience will not just listen to your presentation, they will watch your every move, pay attention to the way you are dressed, the way you talk and the way you behave, especially if you are on the stage. Hence, this may not be such an easy task as it sounds, and no matter how big the audience is, you should know how to create a presentation.

Learn about your audience. It is not the same if you are giving your presentation to a group of high school kids or to business clientele. What may be a very well prepared content for one audience, may bore another, so always know your audience before starting your preparations.

Write down the material. Do not just read and hope you will remember everything you might need to say. Write everything down along with the sources of your content. Although you may not need to mention all the sources you used to prepare your presentation, you still want to have those in case of some questions.

Practice by reading your speech. Read your material over and over until you get bored with it. Once you start being bored, then you are probably ready to make that speech. Try to memorize certain parts whenever possible, but also make sure you have memorized the order of certain topics, as well as of the slide show pictures.

Bring some small audience. Dress up to look professional, and have that small, hand-picked audience listen to you practice. It can be a group of friends or co-workers with some knowledge of the topic you are presenting. Have them write down some comments about the way you act, as well as about the content itself. Was there something you didn’t explain well enough? Were you too hyperactive with your hands or expressions?

Create a checklist. If you need to bring on some requisites of equipment to your presentation, then it might be a good idea to create a checklist you will follow before going to the stage.

Tweak your presentation. Now that you got some feedback from the people you trust, do not be afraid to make some final adjustments. Get rid of some boring parts and focus on the parts where you got the best reactions.

Relax and get rid of all anxiety. If needed, find a quiet place and relax. Take some time to think about certain parts of the speech, imagine yourself holding a presentation and the audience listening to you. This should boost your confidence before getting down to business.

Present yourself and the material. Once you get on the stage, present yourself. Then start with the presentation itself. If you feel nervous, try not to think about the people watching and listening to you and try to focus on one person at a time. This way you will have a feeling of talking to just one person, at a time, of course.

If possible, provide the audience with a couple of minutes to ask questions. If you prepared yourself properly, then you will have all the facts ready. Also, be prepared for some not so friendly questions.

At the end, thank the audience. They listened, you presented, now it’s the time to thank them and leave the stage. Don’t rush off the stage, but do not dangle along.

Learn from your experience after one or more presentations and find your own style. You do not have to hold the presentations like all others, as there are no strict rules. Hopefully some of the elements mentioned here will help you improve your presentation skills and prepare better for the next time.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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