You have a big presentation coming up at work. Maybe you need to sell a big project to a new client, or maybe you need to give an annual report – either way, you want to make sure that you do a great job, and you’re feeling a little nervous.
If you can relate to this, you’re not alone. The fear of speaking in public is the most common phobia (far ahead of heights, spiders or death), with around 77% of the population experiencing anxiety when they think about public speaking.
Here are six tips to help you give a great presentation at work.
1. How To Give A Great Presentation: Start Strong
Humans have a fairly short attention span, and the modern world has make people even more impatient (in fact, people are likely to leave a website if it doesn’t load within three seconds!). So if you need to give a presentation, make sure you start strong. Don’t explain who you are, and don’t waste time setting up the presentation (make sure it is on the first slide when people arrive), as this will cause people to lose focus. Instead start with an interesting fact or statistic, or quickly explain the issue you are trying to solve. This will grab the attention of your audience, so they are more likely to sit up and listen to you.
2. Focus On The Core Message
When you are planning the presentation, focus on the core message. As you do each slide, ask yourself; what is the main point I want my audience to take away? Can I communicate that message clearly? Is the message clear throughout the whole presentation, or are some slides less focused? Should I shorten the presentation to make the message clearer?
3. Don’t Use Simple, Basic Slides
Instead of creating simple slides, focus on slides that give clarity. You audience (whether they are peers, clients or bosses) need to understand the issues and solutions that you are presenting, and this may require more than a sentence and a photo. You can use graphs, text and tables to explain for increased understanding, and it can also be useful to take questions throughout the presentation (rather than at the end) to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.
4. Make Your Passion Clear
It can be hard to relax if you feel nervous, but it may help if you let your passion shine through. Tell the audience why this presentation is important to you, and how it can benefit/affect them as well. Be honest and enthusiastic, and this will make your presentation more enjoyable for both you and your audience.
5. Focus On Your Audience When Preparing The Presentation
When you design each slide, think about your audience. Ask yourself these questions; what will my audience learn from this slide? What do my audience need? What do my audience want? This will make it easier for you to create a presentation that your audience will connect with.
6. Make Eye Contact And Smile
Finally try to make eye contact and smile throughout the presentation. Eye contact may not be possible if you are working with a virtual team who don’t use cameras, but you can still smile frequently (and you can make eye contact with the camera). This will make your performance more engaging, and it should also help to make you feel less nervous.