PowerPoint Presentation Tips

October 9th, 2006 by Kat Kingsley-Hughes

Here are some presentation tips (in no particular order!)

  • Breathe! This is the key to beating any anxiety about your presentation. Take some slow deep breaths (try taking a slow in-breath, followed by a pause, and then a slow out-breath and try to breathe out for as long as you took to breathe in. This has an amazing calming effect.
  • Nervous before speaking? Spend a few minutes in the lead up to your presentation (days or hours as you see fit) practising your breathing and visualizing your presentation going well. Make a clear picture of yourself, up there and it’s going great! Just doing this simple thing will really make a huge difference, both to how you feel AND to how smoothly everything goes. Magic! :mrgreen:

    Visualizing your presentation going smoothly is a very effective way to ensure success! Not only does it help to keep the presenter calm but it also creates a better rapport with an audience if you’ve visualized them giving you positive responses to your presentation. And even if their reactions turn out to be negative, a presenter is more likely to handle it in a positive way! :mrgreen:

  • Stand still! Pacing the floor or swaying from side to side are very distracting for the audience. So plant your feet and take a deep breath! Don’t be afraid to move your arms or point as you need to. If after a little while you want to move to a new spot just to add emphasis or to create rapport, go ahead – just don’t give the audience the impression that you’re a caged tiger and you’re waiting to pounce! 😉
  • Where do you look when you’re presenting? Well, it really depends on the size of the audience. Individual eye contact is always best if you want to create rapport, but if there are a lot of people and they are far away, this can be difficult. (Actors generally speak to the back of the room slightly above the audience.) If you can see your audience however, allow your eyes to sweep the entire room and make eye contact with a few people along the way. (Although try not to look at just one person as this can make them -and you – feel nervous!)
  • Relax, speak clearly and confidently at a normal pace! Public speaking is one of the major phobias that the vast majority of the public fears most. One of the worries that bothers people most is fear of the dreaded ‘um’. Um is a big problem I know. And it’s catching too. If you listen to someone that ums and erms a lot, you may well find yourself doing it. I even know someone who types um when they’re instant messaging. (And that’s catching too!)

    One trick that I’ve found for dealing with the dreaded ums is to play a game. Kids are great for this. Take turns to talkfor one minute about a subject of your choosing (something you know well or make up a story for example). The trick is that it must be without saying um or erm or any other kind of vocalized hesitation. Unvocalized (silent) hesitations are fine (although usually we set a 3 second limit) – but no sounds! Everyone listens intently to catch each other out and as soon as someone says um they lose their go and the next speaker has a turn. This game works really well at eliminating the vocal hesitations. Sometimes people develop other ways to deal with it, such as replacing the vocalization with a hand gesture or a breath, which works fine as long as it’s unobtrusive and doesn’t interrupt the flow of your speech. Give it a try!

  • Don’t read your PowerPoint slides. They are there to support your speech, not vice versa. Keep the tone of your voice energetic. Let it rise and fall. This keeps your audience’s attentionand helps get your message across.
  • Give out handouts at the end to avoid paper shuffle. (If you must give out some data, try to keep it to one sheet, go double sided if necessary.) Remind people in your final slide to pick up their handout before they go.
  • Don’t be afraid to pause. OK, so some stony silences can be deafening, but not all of them. Taking a moment to let something sink in can be very effective. And just as you alter the tone of your voice to keep attention, altering the speed of what your say can really create impact and lead to greater rapport.
  • Make them feel good! There’s a saying in sales ‘Sell the sizzle, not the sausage!’ and this applies to presentations too. The audience ultimately want to feel positive about your presentation. They want to feel that they have been informed and maybe even entertained. So the secret to a great presentation (as opposed to just an ok one) is making the audience feel good! Thoughtfully designed slides, clear concise wording, to-the-point speaking, creating rapport with the audience and a little bit of humor thrown in for good measure can give them that feeling. So, smile (take a deep breath) and go get ’em! 😉

This entry was posted on Monday, October 9th, 2006 at 7:46 pm and is filed under PowerPoint. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “PowerPoint Presentation Tips”

  1. cookie Says:

    Can someone tell me how to make a bookmark in microsoft powerpoint please?!!!

  2. Kathie Says:

    Yep, no problem. Take a look here: http://www.vexentricity.com/?p=77

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