Improving your presentation skills - a top skill

Do you have to present in any way in your role?

Do you agree with me that being a good speaker or presenter is one of the top 5 skills to have in business?

I used to be very nervous when I was about to deliver a presentation. I used to present without any knowledge of techniques that would make me more engaging and effective.

All that changed when I started investing in my development as a speaker (and this continues and always will!).

If you are interested in an opportunity to do that, you can see the information at the bottom of this page, but in the meantime, I’d like to offer a few tips to raise your game as a presenter.

Improving your presentation skills

Have a confidence building routine

There are a number of things I do here. I have a visualisation technique I use to revisit past positive experiences and build a strong psychological and emotional state in the present moment. I use techniques to handle the negative inner dialogue that can often start up for us all! I play positive music on the way to the event (as I’m a big music fan). I keep a strong sense of perspective on what I am about to do. Your ‘Destructive Self’ can lead you to lose all sense of perspective under pressure. The survival instinct kicks in inappropriately. You can see there is a lot of work on how I ‘Think’ and ‘See’ things before the doing!

Make it about them

Use your empathetic skills to think about what would be interesting and important for your audience when putting the material together. Remember to keep your self-indulgence in check, as what’s interesting to you may not be to the audience. Also, question and engage your audience to position your material even more in their world.

Make your slides less wordy and more visual

I have seen way too many presentations that are ruined by a set of slides with endless bullet points! You need to limit the detail on your slides and use more images, diagrams and video clips to keep it interesting. Remember, you can also use props and flip charts too for more variety.

Do away with notes as much as possible

You can use visual memory techniques to remember your presentation. At the very least, use cue cards or cues from your slide images, but don’t read from notes or even worse from wordy presentation slides!

Use stories people will relate to

People may find what you have to say interesting, but this will be greatly helped by telling some stories. Interesting stories that relate to your subject, stories about people you have worked with, and personal stories from your own experience. In a sales environment, case studies and success stories are even more important.

Use vocal variety

Use a range of volume and pace to make your spoken delivery more interesting. You could be talking about the most interesting topic in the world, but if you speak quietly and in a monotone voice, you will lose your audience. I was once told to make presentations more like ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana! Have a listen and see if you know what I mean.

Make greater use of the word YOU

Most of all make much greater use of the word ‘You’, rather than ‘I’. Also ‘Your’ rather than ‘My’. This will show you are interested in your audience and not just talking about yourself. Just start doing this more and see how different it feels and how people seem more engaged with your messages.

Try just one or all of these and see the improvements in the way you deliver your presentations or speeches.

If you would like help in becoming a better presenter, you can join me when I run my next presentation skills training programme (in partnership with the East Midlands Chamber) in April.

You can find out more about the next 2 day presentation skills course in April by clicking HERE.

I wish you well on your journey to develop a top 5 business skill!