There comes a time that you are asked to deliver a pitch, presentation or hold an assessment. Most people instantly feel nauseous when they are being told to give a presentation. But why? We are convinced it is not necessary to get scared if you prepare your presentation like a boss. In this article, we will tell you what to do!
Start on time
One of the best tips we can give you from experience is to: start on time! This way you have enough time to prepare and you prevent last-minute stress when trying to build a presentation in one night. If you start in advance, you have time to do good research, find short video clips, for example from ted talks or scientific YouTube channels that actually support your words and to come up with strong opening sentences to make your audience listen.
We know it is not always possible to choose the topic of the presentation yourself because sometimes you get assigned to a particular subject. If this is the case, we recommend creating enthusiasm. Start reading as much as you can and drown yourself in the specific information. You might find aspects that you sincerely feel are interesting. We emphasis this, because think about it... if you do not find it interesting, why would your audience? Make people care about your topic!
The art of good opening sentences
Have you ever thought about the importance of an opening during a presentation? With a strong opening, you immediately grab the attention of your audience. For instance, you could think of a nice anecdote, a story or a joke. Make sure after this strong opening a clear introduction follows. Here you make sure the audience knows what your presentation is going to be about exactly and what your goal of the presentation is going to be. This way you provide the audience with reasons to keep on listening.
Make it easy to understand and use simple words. Try storytelling, a lot of people get triggered because of stories. When storytelling, back yourself up with examples to clarify. Lastly, with regards to the content, it might be necessary to decide for yourself which pieces of information are the most valuable. It can occur that things do not go according to plan, know what you information you can skip if time runs out.
If you are afraid to forget pieces of text, it may be handy to create cue cards with keywords. This looks professional and is very helpful because it gives you the possibility to have a quick look when you forget what you were talking about. By using cards and keywords instead of the full text of your presentation, you prevent yourself from reading out loud, which is a no-go during a presentation.
Start strong, end strong
We just mentioned the importance of a good start of your presentation, but have you also thought about the closing of your presentation? Actually, this is just as important. You could do this by providing the audience with a short summary, where you highlight the key points of your story. Make sure you blow them away in your final minutes, so they do not forget your message and presentation!
Practice makes perfect
Hearing yourself say the words helps enormously, so practice out loud! This helps you to remember your text and create bridges between the different topics. Also, it helps you with your intonation and where to drop some moments of silence. Furthermore, body language is an important part of presenting, so consider practicing in front of a mirror. You can check if you are okay with the way you stand, with your gestures and your facial expressions.
We are all aware of the fact that neat clothes make you look professional and you have to admit that wearing neat clothes makes you feel like a boss, right? But even more important is that the clothes are comfortable as well, don’t go too far out of your comfort zone if you normally only wear sportswear. We feel that with a blouse or a blazer you can rarely go wrong!
Make sure your memory-stick is properly working and that there are no spelling mistakes in the slides. Would you like to show a short video clip? Check-in advance if the sound works and you added the correct link in your presentation. Also, check if you know how to use your tools. Small details matter at moments like these.
In short: start on time, be interested in your topic, know about the art of strong opening and closing sentences, create cue cards if you wish, practice (A LOT), dress appropriately and check everything including your tools in advance of the moment suprême!