According to a 2018 survey by Chapman University, 26.2% of Americans are afraid (or very afraid) of public speaking.
This is a reality we know all too well. As comedian Jerry Seinfeld famously quipped, most people would rather be in the casket at a funeral than giving the eulogy.
Even so, public speaking is a necessary part of the professional world. So if you're uncomfortable with talking in front of an audience—or just want to improve your communication skills—keep reading for our top five tips on how to give an effective presentation.
5 Tips for an Effective Presentation
1. Use Visual Aids
In the world of public speaking, a picture truly is worth more than 1,000 words on a screen. Instead of filling your presentation with walls of text, try incorporating powerful images, videos, and other multimedia to create a visual aid that enhances your speech. Images create a context for your words and make it easier for your audience to remember the topics you covered.
2. Engage Them with the Power of Story
We've all had to sit through presentations that felt like nothing more than information overload. Instead of pelting your listeners with facts and statistics, get them hooked by turning your talk into a story-driven narrative.
If you're not quite sure how to do this, try watching some TED talks on a topic that's related to your presentation. TED talks are known for turning highly technical and detailed topics into a story that every listener can enjoy and learn something from.
3. Customize Your Delivery
A great speaker approaches every presentation from the audience's perspective. Instead of writing a speech based on what you want to say, try building it around what you want your listeners to get out of it. If they feel like what they're hearing is valuable information, your audience is much more likely to be invested in what you have to say.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
No matter how tempting it is, it's never a good idea to wing a presentation without rehearsing it first.
When you practice, don't just talk to a wall. Rehearse your speech in front of a mirror, paying close attention to your body language and facial expressions. Then, practice in front of someone you trust to give you honest feedback.
Keep going until you're able to deliver your presentation naturally, without reading off any posters or slides. You shouldn't be reading off a PowerPoint as if it were a teleprompter. Instead, treat it like having a conversation (albeit a one-sided one) with your audience.
5. Take Advantage of Technology
If you're looking for a way to capture people's attention right from the beginning, why not integrate innovative technology into your talk?
Projectors, LED video walls and mixed reality can all be used to make your speech more exciting. For example, if you're giving a presentation on options for remodeling an office, try using augmented reality to give your listeners a real-life example of how redecorating can change their space.
You’re Ready to Present… We’re Here to Help
Before you ever step in front of an audience, make sure you've taken our advice on how to give an effective presentation to heart. Then, blow them away with your public speaking prowess!
If you're looking to integrate tech into your next presentation, Hartford Technology Rental can help. Contact us today with your questions and get a free quote on computers, audio and video equipment, and other technology rental equipment.