Ways to improve my presentation skills
I frequently give presentations to my colleagues and external clients at work. I've seen my skills improve as I do more and more reps, but I'd like to be more thoughtful about what I can do better.
NB. In my work, the content of my presentations is probably more important than my public speaking skills themselves. This isn't universally true.
1. Never forget the high-level goal
This is crucial! Every point I make should tie into the presentation's main thesis.
2. Maintain a clear structure
In my experience, having a clear presentation structure that's presented as an agenda at the beginning of the presentation helps the audience better understand and recall my main points.
3. Engage with the audience
I can't stress this enough. The presentation is important, but, in the end, we're all human. People have better experiences when they are engaged and entertained, and humanizing my audience can help me get through to them.
4. Be light-hearted and (if possible and appropriate) crack a few jokes
I'm getting much better at this, but giving presentations has always made me very nervous. Gentle humor is always well-received, and it usually helps me feel more at ease as well.
5. Speak slower
I speak quickly to begin with, and even more quickly when I'm nervous. This can make me hard to understand.
6. Anticipate potential questions and try to answer them before they need to be asked
The title pretty much sums it up!
7. Turn the presentation into a conversation
This might not be appropriate in some circumstances, but in many cases making a presentation interactive can really help connect with the audience. Invite thoughts, questions, and reactions.
8. Record and watch my presentations when they're done
There are plenty of softwares available for this. Watching my presentations can help me fully dissect and understand my delivery.