How to Make a Great Presentation

As a human beings we have to communicate our thoughts and share them with others. Sometimes it has to be public statement. And probably each of us had to do at least one public presentation in his life. For some it was easier and for some harder. Especially those who had problems with doing it right think that it is something hard to learn or a kind of gift that you born with. But being a good speaker is a kind of skill that you can learn and practise. Just few tips will help you!

Know what you are speaking about.

This is very important to have wide knowledge about the subject you are suppose to speak about. Read books and search information on the internet. Prepare yourself a short notes about most important issues and than read them free or four times. Well prepared notes are the key to organized knowledge. It’s obvious that you can’t remember all the facts that you want to talk about (and it is even not recommended to learn them by heart). But when you have good notes they will be a sort of network that will show connection of one item with another. In case of problems with remembering something you can always take a quick look and get back immediately on track.

Prepare some unusual facts.

From my practise from university I have learned that there is nothing less interesting than boring lecture. I was a listeners of many lectures and presentations but only some of them left in my mind. I probably remember only those one which made my eyes open wider, made me wonder about the world and wanted to learn something more about the subject. Usually the most interesting were not facts that can be easily read in books but those that aren’t widely known. So make your listeners wonder about the subject. Surprise them and left with a little bit of unsureness.

Be confident.

I am sure that this point might be hardest of all. But don’t worry: if you are well prepared and have something interesting to say you’ll be all right. Remember that no one is really 100% confident while speaking in public. And even if you made a mistake think that it happens to all of us. Even the professional speakers, managers and businessmen who ended up courses named ‘ management training UK ‘ or ‘be the best leader’ have sometimes doubts if they are correct or have something interesting to say. Bare this in mind and it will help you stay calm. And what can you do to be more confident?

Have a nice look.

Wearing clothes in which we look and feel good makes us more comfortable and of course confident. Especially it is very important when it comes to women. When we are certain that our hair looks good, make up isn’t to expressive, shoes are clean and clothes are elegant, smart, classy and fits us we can pay all the attention on the subject of presentation, not wondering ‘Am I look good? Do they listen to me or look on the stain on my skirt?’.

Smile and be funny.

If it’s possible and it is not very formal meeting try to interest your audience with a joke. If your presentation is first in a block of lectures your listeners might be a little bit sleepy. Few interesting and funny facts will totally wake them up and leave a good impression after you speech. And while listening many lectures before your audience might be a little bit tired and not willing to hear what you want to tell them. Opening joke will gain you their attention and make you more likable. If you aren’t sure about the level of jokes you’ve prepared practise your speech with a friend – it will show you someone else reaction.

Take a course.

If the theory is not enough for you sign up for a practical course. Such presentation skills training might have a wonderful impact on you. It provides participants with the skills required to present effectively and most importantly to develop confidence which makes presenting so much easier and therefore more successful. When you combine this course with a sort of a communication training that will help you use the body language and control your gestures effects might be really amazing!

Good luck!

Why You Should Include True Stories in Your Next Presentation

In an article published some months ago, I talked about the value of storytelling in public speaking and why a descriptive retelling of a story is much more interesting than a brief quip. Audiences love true stories especially if they involve you and have a good ending. They must be pertinent to your topic, however.

If you are not comfortable regaling your listeners with anecdotes or sharing your own stories, you must change your attitude. True stories lend credibity to you, the speaker. They demonstrate your knowledge and experience in the message you are sharing. If you are new to public speaking, without a known reputation, establishing credibility can make all the difference between success and failure in your endeavors.

The story need not even be about your topic, as long the lesson learned from the experience can be applied to your message. For the purposes of the article I wrote back in the fall, the story was a figment of my imagination; I would never use that material in any of my presentations. However, had the story been true, I could have used it in a presentation were I a motivational speaker, for example.

In a nutshell, I describe a harrowing experience about getting lost in the woods in Maine. The outcome is that, by choosing the right path, I was able to successfully return to my camp. The message in that particular story deals with choosing the right path – certainly, a lesson that could well fit into a motivational speech or one about success.

One of the secrets of good storytelling, however, is to tell it to your audience just as if you were sharing it with your friends, speaking with emotion, with passion, and with excitement.

If you question your ability in that respect, practice it out loud by means of your camcorder. Play it back and study what you see and hear. Are you expressive? Does your voice depict what you are describing? What about your facial expression and body language? Did these two aspects of your delivery also help tell the story?

One of the best actors for facial expression and body language is Harrison Ford. You know every thought, every feeling, every emotion he is experiencing just by watching his face and his body. They often tell more about his character than his voice.

Don’t be afraid to allow your emotions and your expression to be seen and heard. It can make all the difference between a less than exciting delivery and one that truly has pizzazz!

Presentations – PowerPoint – Leave the Laser Pointer Behind

One very common lament about presenters using PowerPoint is the unfortunate tendency so many have to talk to the screen, instead of the audience. It’s uncomfortable for an audience to have to look at a speaker’s back while he reads his slides. And, of course, it’s huge disconnect between speaker and audience, which is defeating the whole purpose of the presentation in the first place. So why in the world did anyone think the laser pointer would be a viable, effective presentation tool?

For those of us who love toys and gadgets, the laser pointer is almost irresistible. You hold the pen-shaped object in your hand, and with the click of a button, you can shine a pinpoint of bright red light on the screen to draw the audience’s attention to a particular item. You can move it around to circle some important item or make a flourish over some point. It’s fun, it’s high tech, and it seems to be state-of-the-art presentation technology.

However, I’m sorry to disappoint you gizmo-lovers, but this device, for all its high tech appeal, has absolutely nothing to recommend its use. Here’s why:

1. First of all, if your visuals are done with a good color contrast, which means the background will be a dark rich color (with light type on it), it’s extremely difficult to even see that little red beam on that dark background. I’ve seen presentations where the audience had no idea the speaker was even using a laser pointer because they never saw its light.

2. Secondly, the very nature of its use — having to direct the laser to the screen — requires the speaker to face and point to the screen. This means her back is turned on the audience and she’s talking to the screen, not the people in the room. Obviously, this is a big disconnect between the speaker and the audience.

3. There’s also a minor problem that can occur if the speaker forgets to turn off the laser beam and, while making gestures, ends up throwing that red light all over the room.

You can be the pointer. With the exception of large convention hall screens, the vast majority of screens are of a size that makes it very easy for the speaker herself to refer to the items on the visual. By stepping back to the screen and referring to the points on it, you are effectively directing the audience’s attention while keeping yourself in the picture and making purposeful gestures.