Whether your occupation is in retail, food and beverage, or you are a student preparing to enter the workforce, the ability to deliver a good presentation is almost always beneficial to your career.
In a business setting, employees are often asked to give presentations. These presentations may be for a supervisor to evaluate the progress that a company has made over a certain period of time. They may also be used rhetorically to persuade a potential client to work with the company. Similarly, students are often asked to give presentations in class on work they were taught in the course. Many presenters can find themselves ill-prepared or nervous before they have to present. Here are a few suggestions on how to make the most of your time in the spotlight.
1. Evaluate the setting of the room.
One thing that is helpful for public speaking is knowing the space in which you will be presenting. Getting a preview of the room allows a speaker to plan where they will be standing, the type of lighting you have to work with and the acoustics of the room. This helps to understand how loud you will have to speak for the audience to hear you.
2. Make cue cards.
Begin creating your speech ahead of time. Make cue cards so that you can familiarize yourself with the work that you are presenting, the wording and the order in which you will be delivering it. This will make the pace of your speech seem more natural once presentation day comes.
3. Know the statistics.
Whether it’s a pie chart, a graph or algebraic equations, knowing the numbers is vital to a good presentation. This shows your audience that you know your subject well and it establishes some credibility between you and them.
4. Be familiar with the equipment and software.
If you know that you will be working with a projector screen or using Microsoft PowerPoint, make sure that you are familiar with how they work. Not knowing the technology that you are working with can take away from the seriousness of your speech. It is also beneficial to get to know the software capabilities and how they can make your presentation come to life.
5. Dress accordingly.
Dress professionally but comfortably. Speaking in front of a crowd can cause one’s body temperature to rise so it’s wise to wear layers that you can put on or take off as necessary. Be careful not to cause too much distraction if you do need to make adjustments to your outfit.
6. Make eye contact.
This helps you to connect to the audience. Although the visual part of your presentation plays a major role in your overall lecture, you are the face of the work. What you do and say determines how the information you present is absorbed.
7. Avoid the quirks.
Try to avoid saying the words “like” and “um”. They can make you sound unprepared. Also keep your fidgeting to a minimum. Remember to speak slowly and pause if you need to gather your thoughts. Also, try not to sound robotic. Instead, you should build a rapport with your audience and make the speech interactive.
8. Finish strong.
Briefly review what you went over and ask the audience if they have any questions. If you do not know the answer to a question you can ask to speak with them personally and explain how you may be able to find the information somewhere else.
These tips are designed to give some structure to any presentation. Feel free to add your own flair and charisma.