11 Top Tips for Killer Presentations

how to give a good presentation - header

Giving a good presentation takes practice. Not everyone is born a natural public speaker, which is why we’re here today.

In this article, we’ll give you some of the best tips for killer presentations. These are techniques used by all the best public speakers, and yes – even they had to practice to get this good.

If you need to give a presentation for work, be it a pitch about a new project or product idea, a quarterly marketing report, a product launch or as an industry expert in a summit, we’ve got you covered.

 

How to Give a Good Presentation [Presentation]

To learn more about our top 11 tips for giving a killer presentation, keep reading throughout this article. But for those of you who are skimmers, feel free to browse through this presentation rounding up our top tips.

How to Give a Good Presentation

Here’s a quick look at the 11 tips on how to give a good presentation. Plus, you’ll find a bonus resource you won’t want to miss, The Visme Presentation Guru Course.

  1. Rehearse What You’re Planning to Say
  2. Prepare Mentally, Emotionally and Technically
  3. Start Strong
  4. Follow the Outline You Practiced With
  5. Use Props
  6. Finish With Confidence
  7. Use a Storytelling Technique on Your Slides
  8. Keep Your Slides Short
  9. Use Templates
  10. Learn From Your Mistakes
  11. Keep Yourself Inspired for the Future

Let’s dive in.

 

1 Rehearse What You’re Planning To Say

Before you even give a good presentation, you need to prepare.

This part has two steps – to rehearse what you’re going to say and to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. These two tips go hand in hand, but we’ll explain what each one is about individually.

Notice that we didn’t say “memorize your presentation.” There’s a big difference between memorizing a speech and practicing telling a story. The difference is that a memorized speech can end up sounding robot-like and practiced storytelling sounds effortless. 

You’ll be better off if you have at least a rough outline of your slides before you start rehearsing.

 

Section 1, Pause, Section 2, Pause, Repeat

Rehearse what you’re planning to say during your presentation by using a written outline, index cards, printed out versions of your presentation slides or whatever works for you.  

Practicing the spoken part of your Visme presentation is easy when you use the presentation notes feature

Separate your presentations into sections. The best way to do this is by topic. Try and keep all the sections about the same length, that way you can plan your pauses. 

 

Presenter’s Notes

Add presenter’s notes to your slides to help you along as you present. Visme makes this easy for you. As you go through each slide, you’re able to see the notes, what slide you’re on and what slide is next. There’s also a timer to help you pace each slide switch.

how to give a good presentation - use presenter's notes

This tool will help if you can have a computer close by as you give the presentation. But if you are giving a presentation on a stage without a screen to help you, you’ll have to practice without notes. 

 

How to Give A Good Presentation With Mnemonic Tools

Create some mnemonic tools into your presentation to help you remember what comes next. For some people, this comes as second nature and is easy. For others, it can become convoluted and cause you to overthink things. 

Try out a variety of different techniques until you find the one you feel the most comfortable and confident with.

 

Ask For Feedback

For better results and to know if you’re improving, record yourself or ask someone to watch you.  Ask them to give you honest feedback. Don’t accept feedback like “that was great.” Insist they go into the details. Offer them a pen and paper to take notes as you present.

You’ll notice as you practice and rehearse, that when you follow an outline, all the information you want to share is easier to remember. The TED talk below by Dr. Bolte Taylor was rehearsed 200 times and it’s one of the most famous TED Talks ever. 

You don’t need to practice that many times – just enough so it feels effortless. Needless to say, rehearsing is key to learning how to give a good presentation.

 

2 Prepare Mentally, Emotionally and Technically

It’s highly likely that you’ve already had to give presentations before, most probably at school. But let’s be honest, a classroom and a TED stage are a little different. So is an online summit via Zoom, which as you know are even more common now!

Let’s get one thing straight, though. We’re not talking about just any presentation here – we’re talking high stakes, high-quality presentations.

Preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for a weekly sales report meeting is not as important as doing so for one that will be in front of thousands of people and recorded for posterity.

This tip includes mental, emotional and technical preparation. Let’s focus on each one.

 

Mental Preparation

While you’re rehearsing the outline and general speech for your presentation, notice the times when you feel like things flow and when they don’t. 

Why do you think that’s happening? 

If it flows well it’s because you feel comfortable with the content. You know what you’re talking about. You might even be passionate about it!

On the other hand, if you’re having trouble, maybe the content is still new to you. You might need to do a little more research to feel more knowledgeable about that topic. If you are unsure, you might completely forget what you had to say next during the presentation. 

That’s why rehearsing, adjusting and creating mnemonic cues will help.

 

Emotional Preparation

Not everyone needs to get emotionally prepared before a presentation. Conscientious rehearsing can usually be enough. But not everyone is the same. 

Many people that suffer from glossophobia or the fear of public speaking. Some have anxiety or social anxiety and just being close to that many people is difficult for them. Many successful speakers used to be riddled by fear before their first few presentations. 

Some of them still are, every single time. The difference is that they have learned how to manage their fear and lean into it. As soon as they step on the stage, the fear and anxiety melt away and all the rehearsing and practicing take over. 

To get emotionally prepared, you can try some mindfulness exercises and relaxation techniques. 

Wear clothes that make you feel powerful and confident. Try doing the power pose and high five some people before you go on stage. Sing your favorite song and have a little quick uplifting dance. 

 

Technical Preparation

You might be wondering what technical things you need to give a good presentation. It’s all in the details. 

Regardless if you’ll be speaking in a venue or an online summit, you have to test all technicalities.

If you’ll be speaking in a venue, visit the space and stand in the place where you’ll speak. Have a look around and pinpoint some elements or aspects that make you comfortable.

If there’s anything that bothers you, like a weird smell or a column in the middle of the room, think of ways to overcome that. 

Always ask to test the technical aspects in the room. Connect your computer or tablet to their system to check if your slides will look good with their setup. Also, test the audio. These detailed checks might not always be possible but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

If your presentation will be online, test all your tech beforehand. Locate a spot with the strongest wifi or hardwire your computer to the router.

Check your background and the lighting. Organize with housemates or family for some quiet time during the time of your presentation.

 

3 Start Strong

The day and time of your presentation have arrived! Now it’s time to shine.

Starting strong is a huge factor in achieving a good presentation. The first few seconds and minutes that you’re on stage will make a first impression on your audience. And yes, you can leverage that to your advantage!

 

How To Give A Good Presentation Through Impactful Body Language

The first thing people will notice is your body language. The way you carry yourself says a lot about how confident you are at that specific moment. If you prepared emotionally and mentally before your turn, then you’re as ready as you’ll ever be.

Watch the video below to learn about the power pose and how body language affects both you and your audience.

 

Make An Impressionable Statement

Starting a presentation with a joke, for example, can make the audience relate or feel more familiar with you. Letting them laugh a little will clear the air in the room and it’ll be easier to continue. 

Other opening techniques include:

  • Be Provocative
  • Incite Curiosity
  • Shock the Audience
  • Ask a Question
  • Tell A Story

Use your first slide as a visual and impactful complement to start your presentation.

We have an article all about starting strong with plenty of inspiration. Check it out here – it’ll inspire you to think of new ideas for your presentation.

 

4 Follow The Outline You Practiced With

If you followed our tip above, you used an outline or a ‘section, pause, section’ technique to practice with. Maybe you even used some mnemonic tools or presenters’ notes. 

It’s time to put them all to use.

As long as you follow what you practiced you’re gold. This tip, as you can see, is a short one. It’s more of a reminder that the rehearsing step is more important than you might think at first. 

Only when you practice and rehearse a lot will you feel more comfortable when you present.

create a stunning presentation with visme

 

5 Use Props

Are you wondering how to give a good presentation with props? Good, that means you’re thinking creatively. Using props is a technique that not many consider when preparing for a presentation. 

Props can help not only to get the message across but also to serve as emotional support for the speaker! Just make sure it’s obviously a prop and not an emotional crutch.

A prop can be as small as a book, as big as a washing machine, or as weird as a preserved human brain. 

Of course, the prop must make sense with your presentation and topic. Not only that, but you must also practice with it. It’s important to be comfortable with your prop or props as you talk and switch slides. 

Actually, if you use props you might not need slides at all!

To get you inspired, watch this TED talk where Hans Rosling uses a washing machine as his prop.

 

6 Finish With Confidence

The end of the presentation is just as important as the beginning. You have to bring it all full circle. Knowing how to give a good presentation is like knowing how to structure a story, essay or article. The beginning and end are connected and must be relevant to each other.

For example, if you made a joke at the beginning, make the same joke but with a fun twist. If you made a provocative statement, close it up with a similar statement or question about it.

 

Closing Statement

Your presentation’s closing statement is a section in itself. Even if you do as we suggest above, the entire closing statement must be a conclusion of what you talked about during the entire presentation.

The last sentence you say will stay in your audience’s memory. At least until the next speaker takes the stage. If someone in your audience noted down your last sentence, you’ve hit the mark 100%.

 

Q and A Session – Yes or No?

Ending a presentation with a Q and A session is a bit iffy. If you ended your presentation with impact, a Q and A section can fizzle that out.

What you can do is ask the host to let the audience know that if they have questions, they can find you in the lobby for a conversation. For a digital summit, offer your Twitter handle where people can get in touch. 

In the case of webinars or instructional lectures though, Questions and Answers is a great idea. These can help familiarize you with the audience and make them more confident to work with you in the future. 

Consider the purpose of your presentation and make a decision according to what impact you’re looking to make.

Here’s a great example of the chat section from Visme’s webinars, where viewers make comments and ask questions throughout. In our webinars, we have someone help the presenter by gathering questions and ensuring everyone gets answers.

how to give a good presentation - q&a

 

7 Use A Storytelling Structure

Moving on to the tips for the creation of your slides.  It’s important to remember the role your slides will play in your presentation. The audience’s attention should be on you, not your slides. These are meant to be complementary, not a crutch, nor even a text to follow.

With that said, this tip is the most important. It applies to your slides AND your spoken speech. They should both follow a storytelling structure that you and the audience will follow together.

Some of the most common storytelling structures are:

  • Fact and Story – Go back and forth between facts and stories, or “what is” and “what could be.”
  • The Explanation – Inform about a process or plan to fix something or to learn something new.
  • The Pitch – Take your audience uphill over a hurdle and onto a positive resolution.
  • The Drama – AKA “The Hero’s Journey,” this follows the plight of a main character from beginning to end.

You can also check out our quick video on how to structure a presentation like the experts to learn even more.

 

8 Keep Your Slides Short and Visually Balanced

There are two ways to design slides for a good presentation:

  • As a standalone presentation
  • As visual support, while you speak

Either way, you need to keep your slides short in text and visually impactful. For a visual support deck, the slides need even less text than a standalone presentation. 

If that idea worries you, and you have tons of information to share, you can always create a full-fledged informative PDF version of your deck to give your audience, investors or guests.

Here are some important things to remember when designing the slides for your presentation:

  • The flow from start to finish
  • Visual hierarchy
  • Keeping the words to around 6 per slide
  • Visual impact
  • Balanced compositions

 

9 Use Presentation Templates

Creating presentation slides doesn’t need to be difficult or a stressful affair. When you use a Visme presentation as a foundation, you’re on your way to being an expert on how to give a good presentation. 

To select a presentation template, you can either go for a topic-based template or a style based template. Both have their merits, you just need to figure out what’s easier for you. 

Topic-based templates are fully designed templates with color themes, graphics, images, icons, etc. You’d only have to adjust the content and maybe the colors and graphics. 

Style-based templates are better for those of you that need more freedom in terms of colors and visuals. The Visme slide library is full of layouts organized into categories that you can choose from. 

Presentation Templates

Create a stunning presentation online quickly and easily by getting started with one of Visme’s premade presentation templates. Share content with your audience visually. Find a free presentation template that you can easily customize for your own business.

10 Learn From Your Mistakes

When the presentation is over and you feel like you just conquered the world, it’s not the end just yet. Celebrate the moment but remember, there will be more presentations in the future. 

If your presentation was filmed, watch the recording. If there was anyone in the audience that you can fully trust to be honest with their feedback, ask them for it. Take mental notes and the next time you’ll be even more prepared.

The secret sauce to know how to give a good presentation is to always keep learning the ways to improve.

create a stunning presentation with visme

 

11 Keep Yourself Inspired for Future Presentations

When you keep learning, you keep growing. This also applies to the art of giving good presentations. Follow well-known presentation experts like Nancy Duarte and Carmine Gallo. Read their book, their stories and their theories about giving good presentations. 

Watch famous speeches or TED talks to get inspired. Take notes of what you notice in those speeches that you think would suit your personality. You don’t want to copy how other people speak, but you can definitely be inspired!

 

Bonus: The Visme Presentation Guru Course

To top off your knowledge base for giving good presentations with killer slides, we present you with the Visme Presentation Guru Course.

 

How to Give a Good Presentation Every Time

As long as you’re prepared, your slides are well-balanced and your speech is rehearsed, you’re ready to give an impactful presentation.

Plus, never underestimate the power of templates! Check out the Visme slide library to visualize the possibilities. Take our presentation course and improve your abilities as a public speaker and slide creator.

Learn how to give a good presentation with all the resources Visme has in store for you. Sign up for a free Visme account today to get started.

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