Giving an awesome presentation

presentation picture
Originally posted on Psychologytoday.com.

Giving a presentation is like riding a bike. It takes a little time to get it right, but once you know how to do it, you’ll never forget.

For your average public relations professional, talking in front of other people is something you’re going to be doing every day. Whether you’re presenting for your C-suite executives or talking to a reporter on the news, your presentation is everything. You want to be the employee that your boss chooses first when he/she needs help on the quarterly review speech.

Planning
OK, I don’t think I have to say anything about doing your research, right? Because of course, you have to know your stuff before you enter that meeting. Duh.

As far as organizing your content, you can go a few different routes with this. Some people like to use note cards, and others use outlines. People like me use keywords on their slides and/or visuals. For example, I may include the term “social movement” on one of my slides as a cue to remind me that my monologue on social movements is up next. I find this method more efficient because your audience isn’t distracted by your looking up and down at any index cards. Not to mention, you maintain eye contact with your audience.

Presentation dos and don’ts
Do – Speak loudly and clearly to your audience.
Don’t – Read directly from your note cards and/or presentation slides.

Do – Use colorful visuals, infographics and charts to explain complex information.
Don’t – Have paragraphs of text on your presentation slides.

Do – Take time to explain difficult terms and methods.
Don’t – Speak too quickly or rush through your presentation.

Do – Be prepared for questions at the end of the presentation.
Don’t – Be afraid to say “I don’t know” or “I’ll get back to you” if you don’t know the answer to a question.

Filler words
Um…don’t…uh…talk…like…er…this. Annoying, right?

OK, let’s be honest. Most of us naturally talk like that. It’s called colloquialism. We’re accustomed to using these filler words when talking with our friends and family, that we carry them into the professional world, as well. A rare “uh” and a little “er” here and there may be OK. But try eliminating these words from your vocabulary completely. Well, at least try not to use them as much.

Nonverbal communication
What you DON’T say is just as important when giving a presentation. Your gestures, body posture and eye contact affect how your audience views you. Keeping your head down or avoiding eye contact with your audience shows nervousness. Too many hand gestures can distract your audience, and folding your arms just looks like you couldn’t care less.

presentation stance
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs at a special event in San Francisco.

According to a local crisis communications professional, the best stance to have while giving a presentation is standing with your feet together, arms rested in front of you with your fingers lightly pressed against one another (similar to Former Apple CEO Steve Job’s stance). Oh yeah, and keep your body gestures to a minimum.


As you can see, giving a good presentation is more than just doing your research. It’s also about organizing your content and strategically sharing that information with others. Once you’ve mastered these basic tricks, the rest should come easy to you.

Can you think of any other ideas for giving a good presentation? Share them below. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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