Presentation Skills Tips for
By Ed Sykes
that time again…the monthly meeting. You break out in a cold sweat just
thinking about it. Whether you present to your managers or your employees you
are saying to yourself:
if I mess up during my presentation?
if I repeat myself during my presentation?
if the audience doesn’t like my presentation?
if I forget a part of my presentation?
if I look nervous during my presentation?
okay! You’re not the only one feeling this way. The Book of Lists states that
the #1 fear is public speaking. This fear is greater than the fear of death.
I have the answers to your fears and can help you become an outstanding
presenter. These 10 tips will help you gain outstanding presentation
skills, overcome public speaking anxiety, and become more confident making
presentations that achieve results.
Start with an End in Mind
yourself, “Why am I speaking?” “What do I want the audience to do after
listening to my speech?” This will help you focus on the message you want to
share with your audience. It will help you focus on who is your audience, the
key points, and what you want your audience to do after listening to you.
Keep It Simple
Keep your presentation simple
by learning to “speak to express instead of speaking to impress.” What I mean
by speaking to impress is when you see speakers using $5 words for $2 situations
during speeches and they look uncomfortable doing it. Another example of this
is when presenters overuse PowerPoint. Your audience will soon lose interest in
what you are saying.
Also keep it simple with the
structure of your speech. An opening, body with tree major points, and a
closing will help you connect with your audience.
Just be sincere, concise, and
simple in your presentation and you will always connect with your audience.
Master your presentation by
practicing. Here’s the secret to practicing…first read your speech to yourself
2-3 times. This allows you to work out the majority of the rough spots in your
presentation before you start rehearsing.
Then rehearse in front of a
mirror or even better a video camera or tape player. Also try to rehearse in
front of someone whose opinion you value.
Then practice as close as
possible to your speaking environment as possible. For example, if you will be
speaking behind a lectern, practice with your notes on an ironing board.
Before going to sleep the
night before a presentation I take time to visualize the success of the
presentation. The key to making visualization work for you is involving as many
senses (sound, touch, sight, smell, etc.) as possible in your visualization.
Have you ever had a dream where it seemed so real you awoke in a cold sweat (You
don’t need to tell me what the dream was)? It was because you used all your
senses and that dream became so real to you that you needed to escape from it.
Visualize yourself giving a
successful presentation where you see yourself as a confident presenter, hear
yourself handling questions, etc. Visualize successful presentations so that it
Eat the Elephant
the timeless question, “How do you eat an elephant?” Piece by piece. The same
answer applies to presenting to a group. How do you present to a group? Person
to person. Break the group into individuals.
do I present to a large group?” is one of the biggest questions people have when
giving presentations. Get personal. Whenever possible, I will make sure I
arrive early to the room I’m presenting in and plant myself by the entrance. I
will then greet as many people as possible that walk through the door. I will
shake their hands and let them know I am glad they came. Here’s a tip for
guaranteeing a positive audience:
As you greet,
look for pleasant, upbeat people. Then say something like, “I’m especially
glad you made it today. As a matter of fact there’s a sit in the front row with
your name on it. Please enjoy!”
audience member will usually chuckle and you started the personalization
process. Also this allows you to stack all the friendly audience members in the
front rows. It’s always nice to see friendly faces in the front row.
Remember, when giving a presentation, it’s not about your needs or concerns.
It’s about the audience’s needs or concerns. Make it personal and eat the
Nail Your Presentation Opening
the first words your audience hears. Know your opening like the back of your
hand. Know exactly what you are going to say. Once you get started and gain
some momentum you will start to gain confidence for the rest of your speech.
helps to pause for 3-5 seconds before you are about to start your presentation
so that can focus on what you are about to say.
Nail Your Presentation Ending
the last words your audience hears and reminder about you. You can have a great
opening and body and have a bad ending and your audience your always remember
how you ended.
your audience to take action, think about an idea, etc. so that they understand
why they are there.
Backup if You Forget
forget what you are about to say or lose your place in the presentation do the
Take two steps backward. Then take a deep breath. Collect your thoughts.
Smile. Take two steps forward and proceed with your presentation.
Go back and
repeat the last sentence. That will help trigger what comes next in your
If you really
go blank, ask an audience member what was the last sentence you said. Also, if
they have handouts of your speech, you can ask the audience what is the next
subject we will discuss. You will be surprised how many people will volunteer
this information to help you. This will give you time to collect your thoughts,
involve the audience, and go forward with your presentation.
Note: If you forget a piece of information, collect yourself, and then go
forward. Never say, “I’m sorry.” Unless the audience has a copy of
every single word of your speech they will never know you forgot something.
Realize Presentation Nervousness is the Tool of Great Presenters
Believe it or not, all presenters, whether professional or occasional, are
nervous when presenting. The difference is the best presenters use nervousness
to their advantage by turning nervousness into positive energy. Here are some
tips to control nervousness:
possible walk from the back of the room to burn some of the nervous energy.
Get Excited About Your Presentation
excited so that the audience is excited about hearing your presentation.
of the ways you can become excited is:
you say is important and can make a difference for your audience.
opportunity to present is a chance for you to succeed.
Every time you
speak you become better than the last time.
expose me to countless opportunities I wouldn’t have by not presenting.
So the next time you have the opportunity to present apply
the above presentation skills techniques. You will have fun while presenting,
overcome public speaking anxiety, and take your public speaking to a whole new level.
Outstanding Presentations Start in the Mind: Five Secrets
for Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety
Presentation Skills: Seven Presentation Secrets Learned from the Academy Awards
May I Have Your Attention, Please? Five Ways to
Retain Focus and Stay in the Moment
Explain Yourself! The Reason Why Excuses Sabotage Your
Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat" Will Help You Get
Your Point Across! (Yes you can, here's the plan!)
How to Set Boundaries and Say No
Keywords: Ed Sykes, Edward Sykes, The
Sykes Group, Communication Skills,
Speech Preparation, Speech Visualization, Take control of the audience,
Empowerment, giving great speeches, connect with the audience, vocal variety,
Presentation Skills, Presentation Tips, public
speaking, public speaking anxiety, presentations, presentation