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Improving Your Workplace Presentation Skills

improving your workplace presentation skills

Do you have to give a presentation at work? Are you feeling a little nervous about it? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Improving your workplace presentation skills is a topic considered by many who feel anxious about having to present in front of a group, or even just those who want to make sure they deliver a great speech. With the right preparation and practice, you can improve your presentation skills and feel more confident when addressing colleagues or even superiors.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits that come with having good presentation skills, and provide top tips on how to deliver clear and useful information to your audience. Read on for everything you need to give great presentations at work.

The Benefits of Having Good Presentation Skills

Before we get started with our tips, the first thing to understand is the importance of presentation skills. Giving presentations is a skill that is extremely useful in the workplace and can really help your career. Not only will it help you to communicate clearly and concisely with your colleagues, but it can also boost your confidence and show how professional you are. Despite often being thought of as a nerve-wracking experience that you’d do anything to get out of, giving a great presentation does come with a lot of benefits.

Some of the benefits include:

  • The ability to share useful information with peers
  • The ability to connect with colleagues
  • Individual career success and growth opportunities
  • Wider business or client success
  • Improved confidence and communication skills
  • Opportunity to impress clients

So the next time the opportunity arises, don’t shrink away in the corner. With preparation and practice, you could be reaping the benefits of being a great workplace presenter in no time. Here are our top tips…

Present Clear and Useful Information

One of the most important aspects of giving a great presentation is ensuring that your information is clear and useful. This will ensure that your audience is engaged and interested in what you’re saying, that they understand the main points that you’re trying to get across, and they go away feeling like they’ve learned something new.

To make sure your information is clear, you should:

  • Think about the topic of your presentation and what relatable information you can share. With every point you make, ensure it links back to the original topic.
  • Think about your audience – who are they and what do they want to get out of your presentation?
  • Create an outline for your presentation – make sure your points are well-organised and easy to follow.
  • Use simple, concise language that everyone in the room will understand.
  • Learn your presentation inside out – know what points you want to make and the order that you’re going to make them.
  • Use slides, videos, or visual aids to support your points – these can help ensure that your audience understands what you’re saying, and they can also break up the presentation and make it more interesting.

Be Prepared and Practice

One of the best ways to make sure you give a great presentation is to be prepared and practice as much as possible. This will help you to feel more confident on the day, and ensure that you know your material like the back of your hand.

When practising, you should:

  • Get comfortable with the material – know it inside out so you can focus on delivering it well rather than thinking about what you’re going to say next.
  • Practice in front of a mirror or video camera to get a sense of how you come across to others.
  • Practice in front of friends or family to get feedback and help with nerves.
  • The day before the presentation, go through your material one last time to ensure you’re confident and prepared.

practice presentation

Watch Other Public Speakers

Another top tip on how to give great presentations is to watch other public speakers and presenters. You should particularly look at how they structure their information, what style they use, and what techniques they use to engage with their audience.

Pay attention to their use of visual aids and see if you can garner any ideas for your own presentations. Look at how the presenter speaks – their tone, volume and pacing, as well as how engaging and interesting the talk is.

You can also learn a lot from watching presentations that didn’t go so well. Pay attention to what went wrong and try to avoid making the same mistakes.

If you’re struggling to find good examples of presentations, there are plenty of TED talks that you can watch for inspiration.

Think About What To Wear

What you decide to wear on the day of your presentation is arguably just as important as the presentation itself. It will tell the audience a lot about you and how you want to present yourself. It is also important to feel comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing, as this will help you relax and focus on delivering a great presentation.

When choosing what to wear, you should:

  • Think about the dress code of the workplace – is it formal or casual?
  • Wear something that you feel comfortable in – it will help you to relax and focus on the presentation.
  • Ensure your clothing is wrinkle-free and clean – you want to look professional.
  • Make sure your shoes are comfortable – you don’t want to be distracted by any foot pain or discomfort.
  • Wear dark colours if you sweat when nervous or during public speaking.

Arrive Early

There is nothing worse than having to rush and scramble to get everything set up on the day of your presentation. Not only will it leave you feeling stressed, but it will also give your audience the impression that you’re not prepared.

To avoid this, make sure you arrive early to set everything up. This will give you ample time to test any audio and visual equipment, arrange the room to your liking, and get yourself settled so you feel ready to go when it’s time to start.

Speak Clearly

When you’re actually giving the presentation, it is important to speak clearly and make eye contact with your audience. This will help them to engage with what you’re saying and understand the points you’re trying to make.

Standing up straight and keeping your shoulders back will help you to project your voice. Remember to speak slowly and enunciate your words – don’t rush through the presentation.

Connect With Your Audience

Connecting with your audience and ensuring that they have considered your presentation of value is essential – after all, the whole reason you are giving a presentation is so the audience may benefit from it.

In order to connect with your audience, you should try to make eye contact as you are speaking. While quickly glancing down at notes is fine, you should avoid reading directly from them the whole time, and instead take time to look at everyone in the room.

You can also ask the audience if they have any questions, listen carefully to their suggestions, and make sure to thank them for their time once the presentation is over.

If you have a chance to meet and chat with your audience before your presentation starts, it can also go the extra mile in making you seem more likeable and approachable.

connect with audience

Use Non-Verbal Cues

Your body language and non-verbal cues play a big role in presentations. They can help to emphasize points, show confidence, and make you appear more approachable.

Even if you don’t feel particularly confident on the day, stand up straight, make eye contact and smile. These simple cues will go a long way in making you appear a seasoned public speaker.

It is also important to avoid fidgeting, as this can be distracting for both you and the audience. If you need to move around, do so confidently and with purpose.

Use Personal Anecdotes and Stories

When used effectively, personal anecdotes and stories can be a great way to connect with your audience and make your presentation more memorable and relatable.

If you’re going to use a story though, you should make sure it is relevant to the topic at hand and avoid rambling. A good story should be concise and to the point.

The same goes for personal anecdotes. If you’re using one to illustrate a point, make sure it is short and sweet. No one wants to hear your life story – they want to hear what you have to say about the topic at hand.

Use Humour

A little bit of humour can go a long way in making your presentation more enjoyable for both you and the audience. It can help to break the ice, make complex topics more palatable, and make you seem like a more approachable speaker.

That being said, you should use humour sparingly and only if it is appropriate for the topic and audience.

You don’t want to come across as unprofessional or make light of a serious subject. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and consider the jokes carefully.

Bring a Bottle of Water

It is important to stay hydrated when giving a presentation, as it will help to keep your mouth from getting too dry, or your throat too scratchy.

As well as keeping you hydrated, a bottle of water can also act as a helpful pause if you need a few moments to think about what you’ll say next. Taking a few small sips of water looks much better than fumbling and saying “umm” while you think of your next point.

Be Aware of the Time

When you’re in the zone, it can be easy to lose track of time and end up going over your allotted time slot. Not only is this disruptive for the person who might have to follow you, but it also shows a lack of respect for your audience’s time.

To avoid this, make sure you’re aware of the time throughout your presentation. You can do this by:

  • Keeping an eye on the clock so you know how much time you have left.
  • Asking someone else to keep an eye on the time for you and give you a signal when you have five minutes left.
  • Using a timer on your slides to countdown the time remaining.

 

be aware of the time

Finish Strong

The end of your presentation is just as important as the beginning – you want to make sure you finish strong and leave your audience with a positive impression.

To do this, you should:

  • Take a minute to summarise your main points and reiterate what you want your audience to take away from your presentation.
  • End on a high note with a strong conclusion that leaves your audience wanting more.
  • Thank your audience for their time and let them know how they can get in touch with you if they have any questions.

Other Top Tips

Some other top tips that will help you to give a successful and informative presentation include:

  • Keep a positive attitude – instead of worrying about the what-ifs like “What if I forget my point?”, “What if I stumble over my words?”, or “What if the audience gets bored?”, visualise yourself succeeding, getting lots of engagement, and everyone clapping.
  • Take deep breaths and pause if you need to – staying calm and collected will help you to come across as more confident and in control. Taking a slight pause and gathering your thoughts can do wonders for your presentation.
  • Remember that most audiences will be sympathetic to any anxieties you feel and will relate to how nerve-wracking it can be to speak in public.
  • Exercise beforehand – this will release endorphins and help to ease any anxiety.

Final Thoughts

Improving your workplace presentation skills can be a fun and rewarding process, with a great many benefits. Whether you’re presenting to a large group or a small team, following the tips above will help you to give a successful and informative presentation that engages your audience and leaves them wanting more.

By working on your workplace presentation skills, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a confident and successful presenter. Just remember to relax, take deep breaths, and enjoy the ride!

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