Mastering the art of presentation requires practice and rehearsal. It’s true that a touch of anxiety makes for a better performance but too much anxiety has the opposite effect. You aim to reduce your presenter anxiety by planning, preparing and rehearsing your presentations—building familiarity as you go. Rehearsal skills for presenters are essential.
When you are over-anxious about your presentation the raw emotion that makes for a successful presentation performance is replaced by a faltering, unstructured and disorganised speech. These five presentation skills tips will boost your performance when you present.
Sit down and read silently. You should typeset and format your presentation as if you intended to read it to your audience. You start each sentence on a new line and you format with double line spacing. Your choice of typeface and font should be for legibility and not style—and you use upper case characters only for the beginning of sentences, proper names and points needing emphasis.
Sit down and read aloud. Once you have read through your presentation or PowerPoint deck several times you are ready to read aloud. Reading aloud is a vital memory enforcer helping you to visualize and memorize key points within the presentation.
Stand up and read aloud. Once you have read through your presentation several times it’s good practice to do so standing up. When you stand up you can apply emphasis to those passages of the speech that require special attention. You can speak up where appropriate and single out key words with extra intonation. At this stage you should look out for words or word combinations that are difficult to pronounce.
Stand up, read aloud and move. With these key tasks completed you can now practise your presentation aloud–moving around. You should walk around and move your arms—pointing for extra emphasis perhaps. You should move your head adjusting your gaze to establish eye contact with an audience as you make each decisive point. With a mirror you can build a sense of your own mobility and speaking presence.
Record your presentation. Your last rehearsal step is to prepare an audio recording of yourself. Your target is to prepare a recording that you can listen to when travelling to and from work or during a quiet moment at home or the ball game. You need to build familiarity. And with familiarity goes confidence.
These five presentation skills enable you to prepare and rehearse your presentations to perfection. You manage your anxiety, you control your nerves and you become more comfortable with the material that you intend to present—boosting your presentation performance.
“Talk low, talk slow, and don’t talk too much.”