There will come a time in your life – if it hasn’t already – when you will have to deliver a presentation. Whether it is for a school project or your manager, there is highly unlikely you can escape this. So, if you feel anxious about delivering a presentation, specifically about speaking in public, it might be quite the challenge to design and present it effectively. However, there is no need to worry. You can employ specific techniques to create a presentation that will engage your audience from beginning to end.
Many great speakers make use of various tricks to memorize information and keep the audience on their toes. It will be good to hear that whoever feels intimidated to do this task can always learn how to give compelling and engaging presentations. Not everyone is a natural-born speaker, but everyone can learn a particular activity and become an expert.
Therefore, if your past experiences so far are not so positive and you wish to change that, or you have an extremely important presentation coming up, and you need to change your delivery approach, these tips might be just what you need:
1. Research your topic well
Before you start doing anything else, it is of the utmost importance you conduct thorough research. When you are confident in the information acquired and the content you put together, you will be more confident in delivering it. Even if you are quite nervous about speaking in front of an audience, knowing your topic in detail will give you a sense of security and increase your self-confidence. Then, all you need to do is practice how to deliver it until you are no longer as intimidated by this aspect.
Research is crucial in anything you do. Whether it is an assignment at university or you are a professional and need to fulfill your tasks at work, you won’t be able to acquire a deep understanding without research. This applies to presentations. It is perhaps even more important to gain in-depth knowledge when you have to deliver a presentation, as more often than not, there is a question panel. So, it is essential you are as prepared as possible for any questions, and this can be accomplished if you start research well ahead.
2. Allocate enough time to devise a structure
Once you have acquired a great deal of information about your topic, you can start devising a structure. A noteworthy mention would be to allocate enough time for this and be aware that the initial form won’t be the final. Until you polish your presentation, there will be many tweaks and edits. Thus, do not be afraid to get a bit messy in the beginning.
It might be practical to start incorporating the main ideas and add a lot of information so you can identify what must be left on the slides and what not. Presentations should be easy to read, but at this stage, it is essential you visualize all the information so you can structure it correctly and in a logical order.
Another efficient method for a presentation’s structure is to ask someone else to take a look, like a trusted colleague or a mentor. When you spend a lot of time on a particular task, it isn’t uncommon to overlook specific things. A fresh pair of eyes can identify errors or provide helpful feedback.
3. Start designing the presentation
You have reached the stage where you can start designing the presentation. In presentations, less truly is more. This means that text should be kept to a minimum. From the audience’s perspective, when you see big chunks of text in a visual presentation, it is understandable to feel a bit exhausted, given that you are trying to follow the speaker and read a lot of information. So, when you design a presentation, it is crucial you keep the majority of information for yourself and include only keywords on slides. Based on this, you will be able to deliver your speech.
For a visual representation, apart from minimum text, the recommendation is to use a color palette consisting of two or three colors maximum. In terms of font, it is advisable to use a similar font throughout the presentation. If you need to emphasize particular words or ideas, you can bold them to get the desired effect. Being consistent with the design is beneficial for both the speaker and the audience. It will make you look professional if your presentation is sleek and easy to follow. What’s more, your audience will inevitably be drawn if the design is simple yet impactful.
4. Background music can go a long way
Many people run away from using music in the background of presentations. While this is true in particular situations or when you use it incorrectly, it is a misconception that background music negatively affects the quality of the presentation. Indeed, you might not want to use an upbeat melody when you deliver a presentation to your team and manager. However, when used correctly, it can be a great advantage.
For instance, you might want to add a classical tune or jazzy song in the background to engage the audience. Plus, this can help your state of mind, and if you need to pause, there will be no tense silence to make you feel anxious. Therefore, if you want to add background music to your presentation to make it more appealing, you can check melodyloops.com and choose a royalty-free tune that matches the design and topic of your project.
5. Tailor it to your audience
As mentioned earlier, it is essential you edit your presentation continuously until it reaches its final form. While you do this, you must keep in mind the audience to whom you will deliver it. This way, you design it in accordance with the people who will be listening. So, whether it is for your teachers, managers, or team, knowing your audience well helps you deliver a presentation better. For example, if you are giving the presentation to your team members and you are more or less of similar age, you can include a joke or reference that you know the audience will understand.
The secret is always to insert a metaphor or saying that is relevant for whoever is listening. And, last but not least, do not shy away from using humor. If done tastefully, it will engage the audience, and you won’t feel as nervous. However, be careful with funny stories or jokes – they shouldn’t take too much of your speaking time or be too complicated.