For even the most extrovert of person, presenting can be a little daunting, but for freelancers, business owners, or marketing professionals presenting is something we have to do – don’t forget these things to help build your presentation skills. Delivering strong presentations are also important and can help your personal brand if you are looking to position yourself as a thought leader within your industry too.
1. Do your research
Research the topic you are presenting on, the audience and other speakers presentations (if you are one in a line up). Ensuring you know your topic inside out will help you deliver your presentation if you are a little nervous and answer any questions at the end too. If you know the audience you are presenting to upfront, you can tailor your presentation, delivery and any anecdotes you will reference to your audience to make it super engaging. Finally, if you are presenting alongside other speakers, knowing their content so you don’t duplicate or labour points and can reference their key messages will make you look polished.
2. Look the part
Dressing the part can give you confidence in many scenarios, this couldn’t be more true for a presentation. You need to feel comfortable in your attire to feel confident in your delivery. If you are a guest speaker and aren’t sure of the dress-code whether it be business-smart, smart-casual, or just plain casual check with the organiser in advance – you don’t want to stand out or feel uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons.
Fail to prepare; prepare to fail – always my rule of thumb. If you rehearse your presentation, you’ll naturally feel confident. If you learn your script you can talk naturally rather than reading which will increase your eye contact with the audience and really show you know your stuff.
4. Arrive early and test your tech
Arrive between 25-30 minutes early for your presentation. Tech can be unpredictable and sometimes there is a last minute emergency with the audio or presentation files! Have a USB with your presentation on hand and as a triple back up and email your presentation to yourself too. Be early, compose yourself and get used to your surroundings before the audience starts to arrive.
5. Keep calm
“Easier said than done”, I hear you say! Well, sometimes yes, but keeping calm with a few deep breaths and confidence in your preparation and rehearsals will help you with a clear delivery.
There’s resources online to help with presentation skills too – check out this blog from Hays if you have a presentation interview, or this blog from Inc.