As part of our Career Week, we’d like to help you perfect your professional presentation skills in English. Did you know, one of the most common phobias to plague adults is the fear of public speaking?
We understand that giving a professional presentation in English becomes a particularly anxiety-inducing task when you’re not a native speaker. However there are some rules of presenting that transcend languages. Here are our top eight tips to help you give a great presentation:
1. Be prepared
Thorough research and preparation is key. Become an expert on your subject. The more you know about the topic you’re speaking about, the easier it will be for you to speak confidently. If you’re unprepared, your audience will know it and will likely tune you out.
2. Practice makes perfect
Like anything, the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Start by practicing in front of a mirror. Pay attention to your English pronunciation, but also make note of your eye contact, gestures and body language. Remember to stand up straight and look your audience in the eye. One you’ve mastered your presentation in front of the mirror, it’s time to practice with a real audience. Running through your presentation with a friend or family member can be a great way to build your confidence and help you memorize your material. Nerves can often make a presenter speak too quickly, so take a deep breath and time yourself to ensure you’re not rushing through important information.
3. Tell a story
Everyone enjoys a good story, and you’re far more likely to engage your audience if you’re able to weave your information into a memorable narrative. Keep focused on your topic, but draw your audience in by conveying your message with passion and purpose.
4. Less is more
Don’t bore your audience by giving them big paragraphs or long lists of bullet points. If you’re using PowerPoint as part of your presentation, consider using pictures and short phrases instead of full sentences or paragraphs to illustrate your point. Relying on these as prompts while you’re presenting will help you to speak naturally, rather than read to your audience.
5. Be bold
A bold speaker is a memorable one. Maintain your audience’s interest by making a big statement or including a funny anecdote that’s relevant to your topic. Everyone loves to laugh, and you’ll make a positive impression if you can hold your audience’s attention with a little humor
6. Move around
Be natural and connect with your audience. Don’t hide behind a table or rely on a podium to hold you up. Use gestures to emphasize important points and exude positive body language at all times.
7. Avoid tech problems
Technical difficulties on a presentation day can happen, so be prepared. While some issues are unavoidable, you can guard against them by having a back up plan. Wherever possible, don’t rely on the internet. Instead, take screen shots and bring downloaded files.
8. Anticipate questions
Expect that people may ask questions or need clarification on some points. Try to anticipate what might be asked and prepare some answers in advance, so you won’t be caught off guard. If you don’t know how to respond to a question immediately, you can always invite the questioner to meet with you after the presentation.