Many people struggle when it comes to public speaking. But there are many things you can do to set yourself up to do well. In this article, I’m going to look at 5 tips to improve public speaking skills and give a better presentation.
Focus on your audience
It’s important to remember that your audience has come to see you and they want to hear you speak. Your focus should be on them including the language you need to use to keep them engaged and what you want your audience to think and feel. The lessons they learn and any actions you would like them to take. Think about this when planning and preparing your presentation. This will allow you to captivate your audience.
People love stories, it’s the way they have communicated ideas for generations. Speak with passion, be enthusiastic and interact with your audience. They don’t know what you are going to say so don’t worry about making mistakes or straying from your script. Keep smiling and move on.
Clear and concise slides
There’s nothing worse than using crammed slides then reading them out word for word. It makes it difficult for the audience to connect and will seem as if you’re unsure of yourself. White space is your friend. Use bullet points to highlight the main ideas. Delivering the bulk of the information as you present.
Keep your slides simple. Using keywords in a language your audience will understand. Making sure any images are relevant, clear and well presented. Slides with minimal information will keep your presentation looking professional. Allowing your audience to concentrate on you and the knowledge you have to offer.
It’s important to plan and prepare a professional presentation this is one of my top tips to improve your public speaking skills. With clear slides, a great story and all the right information. But presenters will fail if they don’t take the time out to practice. Be sure to know your presentation word for word. Tweaking and making amendments to your script until it flows naturally. But it doesn’t stop there.
Make sure you get to the venue early so you can meet the organiser and the stage team. Get to your team meeting early. Get to know where you will be presenting and, if possible, do a soundcheck or practice in the meeting room. Move around the stage or meeting room, check for feedback or the best place for you to lead the meeting from. Get comfortable with your surroundings and any equipment you will be using.
I’m often asked about what people should wear when presenting. I have no hard and fast rules to give. But what I will say is stay comfortable. Wear what you usually wear. If you’re a woman who usually wears flat shoes and trousers then it doesn’t make sense to turn up in heels and a skirt. If you’re a man who usually wears comfortable sweaters. You wouldn’t want to turn up wearing a shirt with a tight collar and a tie which makes you feel restricted.
Although, some people love corporate wear. It makes them feel empowered and ready to work. If this is you then that is what you should wear. The main point is to wear what makes you feel good and what you are comfortable wearing. If you are uncomfortable it will show and it could put you off as well.
Summary of Tips to Improve Public Speaking Skills
Focus on your audience. They’re there to see you and everything you prepare in your presentation should be with them in mind. People love stories and they’re a great way to engage your audience. Keep your slides clear and concise. Practice until you are comfortable. Wear what makes you comfortable.