You might be really knowledgeable on the topic you are presenting about, but as soon as you step up to speak, you turn into a bag of nerves and forget everything you were going to say. If this sounds like you, here are five tips on how to deliver a killer presentation.
When we’re nervous, we have the tendency to speak faster to rush through what we have to say. This will make it harder for your audience to understand you, you’ll be more likely to make mistakes and fumble your words, and it will reduce the impact of what you’re saying. Make a conscious effort to speak more slowly in order to make your points clearer, and add pauses at appropriate times to control your breathing and add emphasis.
Another mistake people make when they are nervous is that they mumble or talk too quietly, which means the audience will struggle to hear you and it will be obvious that you are nervous. Project your voice so that everyone in the room can hear you clearly. Don’t shout, but stand up tall and try to imagine you are trying to hit the back wall of the room with your voice.
Looking down at the ground or at your notes while you deliver your presentation is another way people will be able to tell that you are nervous, and, like the other problems already mentioned, this will also make you more difficult to hear. Making eye contact with your audience while you speak will automatically make you appear more confident and will help you to engage with your audience.
Don’t just stand there and read the text from your presentation word for word, or stare at a piece of paper the entire time reading it like a script. Doing these things will make it seem like you don’t know the content without reading it, which will make the audience think that you don’t fully understand the topic you are presenting on. People who simply read something word for word also tend to speak in a more monotonous, less engaging tone of voice.
This tip will help you to improve all of the above. Make sure you practice your presentation multiple times before you deliver it. Practice your speech stood in front of a mirror, to your colleagues, friends and family, or even in front of your pet. Being well rehearsed will improve your confidence when it comes to actually delivering the presentation, and if you practice it in front of other people, they might be able to give you some pointers on how to improve your presentation style.