Over the years, multiple studies have suggested that there are a lot of people who fear public speaking more than anything else in the world. In fact, some of those studies have even revealed that there are many people who fear public speaking more than death.
Are you one of these people? If so, you might be absolutely terrified at the thought of standing up in front of a bunch of your colleagues and bosses to deliver a work presentation. The idea of presenting a pitch to a client might also scare you.
Brushing up on your presentation skills is one easy way to get around your overwhelming fear of public speaking. When your presentation skills are on par, it’ll make it a whole lot easier for you to pull off presentations at work.
Here are 6 presentation skills you should learn before your next big work meeting.
1. Figure Out the Most Effective Way to Start a Presentation
No matter how long your work presentation might be, the most important part of it will take place during the first 30 seconds. During that time, there’s a good chance that you’ll either rope your audience in and make them interested in what you have to say or lose their attention completely.
With that in mind, you should always spend a lot of time thinking about the best possible way to start your presentation. You want to pique your audience’s interest in whatever topic you’re going to be talking about during your presentation.
Some presenters do this by telling a personal story. Others do it by shedding lights on some startling statistics.
Regardless of which approach you choose to take, you should aim to start your presentation off strong so that your audience is eating up every word you’re saying by the time you segue into the next part of your speech. It’ll make you feel good about the way things are going and give you confidence during the remainder of your presentation.
2. Work on Channeling Nervous Energy Into Enthusiasm
It doesn’t matter if you’re giving your very first presentation at work or presenting something for the 100th time. You’re going to be nervous heading into your meeting!
Rather than allowing your nerves to consume you and throw you off track, you should embrace them and channel whatever nervous energy you’re feeling into enthusiasm and positivity. Even if you have to fake your enthusiasm, it won’t be long before you’re actually feeling enthusiastic up on stage.
3. Make It a Point to Maintain Eye Contact With Your Audience
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they’re giving a presentation at work is not looking up at the audience enough. From the second you stand up in front of a crowd, you should do your best to maintain eye contact with those in the audience.
When you start scanning the audience and locking eyes with different people, you’ll feel a lot of your nervous jitters melt away. It won’t feel like you’re delivering a presentation to a whole group anymore. Instead, it’ll feel like you’re speaking to each individual audience member with your words.
You should also try to smile as much as you can during a work presentation, provided you’re not going to be delivering any grim news in the middle of it. Smiling will make you feel a lot less nervous and make people feel more of a connection with you.
4. Think About What Your Body Language Is Saying to People
When people practice giving a presentation, they usually spend the majority of their time focused on the words they’re going to be using during it. And for good reason. The words you use during a presentation are obviously important.
But your body language during a presentation is just as, if not more, important than what you say during it. So it’s important for you to focus on what your body language is saying to your audience as well.
You might have the best presentation in the world written down on notecards in front of you once you take the stage. But if you’re slumped over the podium with your head down the whole time and your hands jammed into your pockets, most people won’t even hear the words you’re saying.
They’ll be far too focused on your body language to care what you have to say. So while you’re practicing your presentation, keep your body language in the back of your mind.
You should stand up straight during your presentation and move around as naturally as you can. You can use your hands to gesture, but make sure your movements feel natural and not forced in any way.
5. Use Slideshows and Other Visual Aids to Your Advantage
If you want to drive a few key points home during a presentation, using slideshows and visual aids is an excellent way to do it. These things really come in handy when you’re trying to make statistics and reports more digestible for your audience.
Just don’t overdo it when it comes to slideshows and visual aids. There are many presenters who lean on them too much and end up putting their audiences to sleep.
6. Visualize Delivering a Flawless Presentation Before You Take the Stage
Any time you’re asked to deliver a presentation at work, you’re going to be a little bit of a nervous wreck. It’s normal to feel some anxiety heading into a presentation.
But you should get into the habit of visualizing a successful presentation before you take the stage. You should also work on practicing certain breathing exercises to keep yourself as calm and relaxed as you can possibly be.
Additionally, you can learn more about how to be convincing during presentations to increase your chances of delivering a flawless presentation to your colleagues or clients.
Put Your Presentation Skills to the Test Today
Don’t allow a work presentation to throw you off your game! By working on your presentation skills prior to it, you can almost guarantee that your presentation will be a success.
And who knows? You might even find that you actually enjoy giving presentations after a while. That will give you an advantage over your colleagues and make you an invaluable resource within your company.
Check out our blog for additional tips on putting together the perfect work presentation.