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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Presentation Skills

Becoming a competent, rather than just confident, speaker requires a lot of practice. But here are a few things you can consider to start sharpening your presentation skills:
  • 10-20-30 Rule –This rule states that a powerpoint slide should have no more than 10 slides, last no longer than 20 minutes and have no text less than 30 point font.
  • Be Entertaining – Speeches should be entertaining and informative.
  • Slow Down – Nervous and inexperienced speakers tend to talk way too fast. Consciously slow your speech down and add pauses for emphasis.
  • Eye Contact – Match eye contact with everyone in the room.
  • 15 Word Summary –Speaking is an inefficient medium for communicating information, so know what the important fifteen words are so they can be repeated.
  • Don’t Read – Never ever read or repeat what’s written in the slides. Change and modify in to a simpler language.
  • Speeches are About Stories – If your presentation is going to be a longer one, explain your points through short stories, quips and anecdotes. Great speakers know how to use a story to create an emotional connection between ideas for the audience.
  • Don’t Plan Gestures - Any gestures you use need to be an extension of your message and any emotions that message conveys. Planned gestures look false because they don’t match your other involuntary body cues. You are better off keeping your hands to your side.
  • “That’s a Good Question” – You can use statements like, “that’s a really good question,” or “I’m glad you asked me that,” to buy yourself a few moments to organize your response
  • Breathe In Not Out – Feeling the urge to use presentation killers like ‘um,’ ‘ah,’ or ‘you know’? Replace those with a pause taking a short breath in. The pause may seem a bit awkward, but the audience will barely notice it.
  • Get Practice –Practice will make you more competent and confident.
  • Don’t Apologize – Apologies are only useful if you’ve done something wrong. Don’t use them to excuse incompetence or humble yourself in front of an audience. Don’t apologize for your nervousness or a lack of preparation time. Most audience members can’t detect your anxiety, so don’t draw attention to it.
  • Put Yourself in the Audience - When writing a speech, see it from the audiences perspective. What might they not understand? What might seem boring?
  • Have Fun - With a little practice you can inject your passion for a subject into your presentations. Enthusiasm is contagious.

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