Honing Your Presentation Skills: 9 Tips

Effective leadership often requires impactful presentations. Here are 9 tips to consider to help enhance your presentations:

1 Enhance Your Impact.

Varying your vocal volume, pitch and pace; adding more animation with larger and more dramatic gestures; and making concentrated eye contact are just a few ways to emphasize your key points. Visual aids also boost impact.

2 Summarize Key Points.

Use both your opening and closing statements to ensure your audience understands your primary message. Focus on the content and emotional aspects to help draw your audience in. Use imagery and stories to liven up your speech.

3 Outline Carefully.

Examine your presentation’s outline to ensure it’s congruent with your message. Are key points emphasized, leading you to “peak” at the right time? Make your outline a condensed version of your presentation – unified in content and delivery style.

4 Know Your Audience.

Carefully examine your audience and its needs so you can include specific benefits that will push their hot buttons. Use this knowledge to enthusiastically sell the benefits of your ideas. Concisely relate any questions that arise – and your answers – to your presentation’s main ideas.

5 Prepare Thoroughly.

Using an outline or note cards with key points, practice beforehand. Consider videotaping your presentations and reviewing them with a trusted colleague or mentor.

6 Connect Emotionally.

Be aware that your facial expressions, vocal variety, gestures, stance, and eye contact are all important nonverbal cues that establish rapport with your audience.

7 Aim to Relax.

Slow down! Human nature causes us to rush when nervous. Use relaxation techniques to calm down. Strive for a natural, conversational tone. If you enjoy yourself and the speaking process, your listeners will enjoy themselves more.

8 Choose Right Words.

Use active rather than passive voice. Select verbs that describe the action rather than mere existence (“jump,” “run,” and “fly” rather than “is”). Utilize short, simple words rather than complex words or jargon. Aim for short, clear sentences.

9 Seek Help.

Join an organization like Toastmasters, take classes, or get some presentation coaching from a professional speech trainer.