Unless you're a versed speaker, public speaking can be a daunting experience, whether it's a pitch to a client, a presentation to your work colleagues or in Eva Longoria's case, a political speech to American voters. To excel in your career and succeed in personal branding, here are some useful tips on delivering a good presentation.
Know your stuff – You have to be an expert on your topic and your competition.
Practice –A person reading off a screen can be the most boring ordeal to sit through, causing your audience to tune out. A well rehearsed presentation gives you more confidence as you avoid fumbling through slides to figure out what comes next.
Film your rehearsal – When practicing your presentation, record it with your phone or a video recorder. Play it back to yourself and friends or family and amend the parts which you and they are not happy with.
Prepare the room – Always make sure that you have seen the room you are presenting in and have spent time to know where everything is. Make sure the AV equipment is working and you have a spare USB remote for your presentation in case the venue doesn't have one.
Start a conversation- To shake off nerves before a presentation, many speakers use this well-known tip of initiating a conversation in the room either with a colleague or the individual who is introducing them to the audience.
Smile – Try not to make it a fake one, ensure it's a confident and genuine smile making you appear approachable. Feel good about yourself and act like you want to be there . Studies from psychologists of non verbal behavior noticed longer smiles from women indicated attractiveness, trustworthiness and receptiveness.
Be yourself – People will see right through you if are not yourself, body language is something we subconsciously pick up. Make sure you enjoy your presentation.
Make eye contact – It is difficult to make eye contact in a large gathering but it can be done if you pretend you are speaking to one person at a time. Research from 'Trends in cognitive science' concluded that eye contact fixes people's attention and helps ignore their peripheral surroundings.
Understand your audience – When interacting with your listeners you can pick up certain clues about who they are. Perhaps they are conservative women or men with large egos. Whatever you decide try to relate to them.
Avoid too many gizmos – Yes its very impressive to have amazing videos and power point presentations, but too many will distract and give your audience an excuse not to engage. Do you ever see presidents like Bill Clinton or Barrack Obama taking a projector into their presentations?
Take a breather – Top speakers take frequent pauses in their speech to allow the audience to digest the information and keep them engaged.
Have a good story- Listen to Tony Robbins when he tells a story, he is one of the most inspirational speakers of the 20th Century who interacts with his audience and keeps them engaged.
Keep it simple- People's attention spans are getting smaller with the advent of our information superhighway. If you are not clear with your information people will switch off.
Get your point across with hand gestures– There are specific movements of the arms to emphasize what you are trying to say. Derren Brown is a master in powers of suggestion.
Find out what your audience want – What have the audience come for? What do they want from the session? Focus on delivering their needs.
Use examples – When conveying a situation or telling stories use examples to illustrate your point. This is the most effective way for information to 'stick' in the minds of your listeners.
Command attention – First impressions last, so if you can grab the audience's attention with a joke or something eye catching, they will have good reason to listen to you.
Stay Positive – you may find people are questioning or not understanding you. Remain positive throughout and answer their questions with 'we can talk about that after the presentation has finished'.
Be enthusiastic – If you are enthusiastic the chances are your audience will reciprocate. Create energy with hand movements and raising the tone of your voice.
Take Handouts – As you have spent so much time preparing your pitch, it would be a shame to let all that information go to waste. Remember to leave any contact details on the handouts or a business card if you're selling a product with website information on where to find your product.