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How Can I Improve My Presentation Skills?

Presentations can be considered a necessary evil in most modern workplaces. As a presenter, your job is to relay information to your audience in the most efficient and engaging way possible and sometimes that task can seem out of reach. Whether you’re a presentation novice or an experienced executive, polish up your skills with these tips and tricks to make the most of your next presentation:


Make it interesting:
Colors, fonts and designs have a lot of power when it comes to creating a successful presentation. There are plenty of easy-to-use tools like Prezi or SlideShare that can take your design to the next level. When creating your presentation—whether it’s in the form of video, slides or handouts—use colors strategically to evoke different emotions in your audience.

Keep it simple:
Keep your presentation simple by covering only one idea, preferably in a 10 minute meeting. If your presentation must cover more than one topic, follow an outline that includes an introduction, body and closing and try to wrap the meeting up in 30 minutes or less.

If you’re presenting with an application like PowerPoint, keep your slides to 20 words or less so your audience won’t feel overwhelmed with information. Also avoid “information fatigue” by keeping the presentation to 30 slides or less.


Engage your audience:
One of the most important aspects of a successful presentation is keeping your audience involved and engaged. Research shows that the average adult’s attention span has fallen to five minutes, compared to 12 minutes just 10 years ago.

Taking this into account, combat reduced attention spans by engaging your audience in intervals with question and answer or brainstorming sessions. In a small group setting, call on individuals to give their input. In larger groups, encourage the audience to call out answers to questions.

Tone of voice:
Keep your voice confident, but not overpowering. Some of the best presenters keep their voices soft so their audiences are forced to concentrate on their words. This practice will keep your audience from multitasking or having side conversations.

After you’ve taken into consideration all of these tips and tricks, don’t forget to practice! The old saying “practice makes perfect” is especially applicable to the art of presenting. The more familiar you are with the information you’re presenting, the less you’ll rely on notes and your presentation slides—giving you confidence and an air of credibility with your audience.

Ready to take your presentation to the next level? Check out PGi’s free eBook, The Little Black Book of Presentation Ideas.

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