1. Plan Ahead.
You may well be the master of “winging it”, but a discerning audience can always tell if a speaker is unprepared. True, you may have been giving talks since dinosaurs roamed the earth, and you’re a subject matter expert. But it always helps to invest extra time researching new trends, studying notes or psyching one’s self up. Every audience is different, and must be approached differently. The more comprehensive your planning process is, the better your talk will be.
2. Practice. Practice. Practice.
Practice is the greatest of all effective presentation tips. No matter how simple the presentation is, it’s important the speaker stays confident by troubleshooting problem areas as early as rehearsal. Remember, your visual aids are simply accompaniments; at the end of the day it’s still all about you delivering the speech.
3. Prepare Back-up.
Ah, technology. They can be a blessing or a bane. To be safe, always have back-up soft copies of your talk on a separate flash drive or CD, just in case the one you have doesn’t work. Better yet, prepare printed copies of your visual presentation so that you would still be able to go on in spite of technical problems. But the best thing really is to test every equipment —- as early as the night before the presentation.
4. Image is Important.
Effective presentation tips must always include a section on image and branding. Dress properly and appropriately for your presentation. It’s okay if you are slightly overdressed compared to your listeners. As a presenter, you are expected to be the more credible person, so the more polished and professional you look, the better.
5. Mind your Body Language.
Body language should be in the effective presentation tips you should keep in mind. Maintain eye contact, as people will trust you more if you look at them straight in the eye. Be aware of gestures and facial expressions that contradict the message you are delivering. Don’t slouch. Always stand and sit upright.
6. Modulate your Voice and Pacing.
Voice is as important as your appearance. Speak clearly; not too fast, not too slow. Not too loud; not too gentle. Don’t be monotonous. Go for a conversational rhythm with enough pauses for your audience to ask questions and clarify.
7. Don’t Memorize your Speech.
Lists of effective presentation tips are unanimous: never present as if you’re reciting a piece memorized word for word. Bring notes instead, and let keywords serve as recall aids. While there are parts that are advisable to be memorized, like your introduction and closing, it’s simply ridiculous to memorize the entire thing. If you get lost in a purely memorized speech, it’s difficult to get back on track.
8. Use Quotable Quotes.
Using quotes from famous people adds credibility to your presentation. It would be nice to include at least one quote per chapter of the presentation. Quotes can also be an ice breaker; you can pause your speech and ask the audience if they agree with the quoted words or not.
9. Insert Stories.
People like anecdotes, jokes or trivias. To better illustrate your point, tell a real life example or a human interest. Stories may or may not be personal, but they should always be related to the subject.
10. Speak More Often
Talk to strangers and start small talks. They may not be as formal as a presentation, but they will definitely help you gain the confidence and practice necessary to becoming a better public speaker.
Follow the above effective presentation tips, and you’ll be an old pro in no time.