If you do a lot of presenting, you can agree that it is not easy to do. According to research, glossophobia – the fear of public speaking, affects as many as 75% of people. The mere thought of giving a formal presentation in front of an audience makes many people break into a cold sweat.
However, there are different ways that you can change this. You can overcome this phobia, improve your skills and start to find your presentations engaging. This article looks into some of the best tips to help you calm down and improve your presentation skills.
Let’s get started.
1. Practice, but don’t Memorize
Practice always makes perfect when done the right way. Start by presenting in front of a mirror and evaluating yourself. Next, you should do it in front of your friends and family. This is because having an audience helps you identify weaknesses that you cannot see by yourself.
But then, there are different mistakes that people make when practicing to get ready for a presentation. One of them is trying to memorize the content. This doesn’t help because you will have everything you’ll want to mention in the slides. Memorizing may make you panic if you forget a crucial point on stage.
2. Use Less Text and More Visuals
Another way to make your presentation more productive is to use more visuals. The effectiveness of a presentation depends on many factors, including how you prepare your presentation. You need to prepare your presentation slides with all the information you would like to cover.
The good thing is that there are Free presentation background that you can use to prepare your presentation. Using free templates helps you prepare more effortlessly because you only need to add content to the templates. More images and videos than text make your content more comprehensible.
3. Leverage Your Personality
It would help if you were yourself whenever you are presenting to an audience. This is because many people lose themselves once they get on the stage. Your audience can tell when you are faking it. For instance, they can differentiate between natural and unnatural humor by listening to it.
Therefore, you need to avoid overdoing anything on stage. It would be best if you only did things that make you comfortable on stage. It also doesn’t hurt to smile a little, be emphatic or look around in the room. This can help you make the presentation much more relaxed for you and your audience.
4. Structure Your Presentation
Another way to improve your presentation is by structuring it. You can adopt any structure for your presentation, but missing some basics can affect it. An ideal presentation needs an opening. The opening allows you to set the foundation with a story, question, or statistic that can drive emotions.
Your presentation also needs to have a body. This is where you explain your points in detail and work towards the desired outcome. Have facts that will help you look credible to your audience. Then, you should also have a closing in your presentation. Ensure your audience leaves at least with something.
5. Take Some Questions and Comments
Every good presenter takes time to hear from their audience. You can’t evaluate yourself during the presentation, but the questions and comments from your audience will help you do it. Therefore, you need to have a session at the end of every presentation to listen to answer questions.
Questions and comments help you know the areas of your presentation that need more emphasis. If you still have time, you can repeat whole sections or only answer specific questions. This session helps you avoid many questions in your next presentation as it enables you to change your style and improve your skills.
6. Use Personal Stories
You can also become a better presenter by using personal stories. The good thing about these stories is how they can drive emotions and hook your audience to the presentation. Capturing your audience’s attention is the most important thing to do in a presentation, and stories do that perfectly.
You do not struggle to put your points across once you have your audience hooked up. Besides, some stories are humorous and can help to make everyone in the room feel relaxed. Personal stories are, therefore, a vital part of a presentation. They can help you become a better and more confident presenter.
7. Attend Other Presentations
If you are going to speak at a conference, chances are there could be other speakers. You need to avoid walking into the room a few minutes before your presentation time. Many presenters spend time practicing outside and only walk in when they are about to be called onto the stage.
It is vital to sit in the audience and listen to other presenters. Seeing other people presenting almost effortlessly can help you build on your confidence before getting on stage. It also helps you know the different mistakes that people make while on stage.
8. Maintain Eye Contact
Another way to become a better presenter is by always maintaining eye contact. It isn’t easy to pass a message effectively if you do not maintain eye contact with your audience. Besides, your audience may fail to trust you or take what you say with seriousness if you do not look into their eyes.
Maintaining eye contact during a presentation prepares you for the next one. You can build on confidence quickly if you can train yourself to look directly at your audience. It may feel intimidating at first, but you can start by looking at the audience as a whole rather than avoiding them altogether.
9. Be Confident With Your Body Language
Body language helps presenters bring out their points better. Your smile, hand gestures. etc., can help you make your points easier to understand. But then, the main thing is not whether you use them or not, but how confident you look when using them.
You need to ensure that your body language is in line with your point. Audiences are always keen on how presenters combine the two, so they will know if you don’t look confident. Do not panic if you use wrong signals at some point, be relaxed and proceed or if possible, take a deep breath.
10. Keep Your Presentation Short
It would help if you also were as concise as possible when presenting. One of the worst mistakes you can make is keeping your audience seated for too long. Thus, you always need to focus only on fundamental points and avoid fluff. Timing your presentation and sticking to your timelines will help you improve your skills.
Those are some of the ways you can overcome glossophobia and improve your presentation skills. The first step is to accept that you are not a great presenter. Accept that you have a fear of speaking in public rather than trying to fight it.
The insights shared in this article can help you grow fast into an excellent public speaker. Besides, it would help if you never stopped refining your presentation skills even after becoming better. In the end, you will find presenting easy, and you will begin to hit the nail on the head with every attempt.