By Ashley Melech // AOIT Intern Class of 2023
Presentations are a major part of school, AOIT, and the workforce. It is important to know how to share your knowledge and information with your audience in a productive way. These seven skills can help guide you to being a more confident and effective presenter.
- Properly prepare for your presentation. Whether that means making a script, note cards, or an outline. Then, use those materials to practice giving your presentation. It is good to start out running through your presentation by yourself and then practicing in front of an audience. The more comfortable you are with your presentation and the information you are sharing, the more confident and comfortable you will be. It may take multiple practice runs to feel completely prepared.
- Start off strong! Beginning your presentation with a question, icebreaker, or even a purpose prepares the audience for what’s next. Also, start your presentation off at a natural pace; do not rush the information and do not repeat yourself.
- Confident body language. While it can be difficult to feel confident or comfortable when presenting in front of a large group of people, it is important to try and remain calm. Having a confident and natural stage presence weighs on the success of your presentation. Many people when they are nervous sway from side to side or may pace. Instead, try to lower body motion and rely more on gestures. Another thing people tend to do when they are nervous is stand ridgid. Take a deep breath and try to relax your body when presenting because it will help you look more natural. The more relaxed you are the more confident you will be.
- Use visuals. Use large and clear fonts, graphics, videos, etc. Having good visuals keeps the audience engaged and interested in what you are presenting. If necessary use props or handouts to better help your audience. But, be careful to stay away from obnoxious fonts or colors because it could make your information difficult to read and hurt people’s eyes. For example, using yellow text, having swirly fonts, or having a blue background with a red font, etc.
- Create a dynamic and interactive presentation. Talk to your audience, not at them. Using examples or stories when explaining key points is extremely helpful. Speak from personal knowledge or experience. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate or role-play situations to help nail down key points. Try to incorporate learning methods that stimulate the senses, visuals, auditory, kinesthetic, etc. Also, allow your audience to ask questions or make comments.
- Do not assume the knowledge of your audience. When covering new topics or using technical terms it is important to explain the meaning or importance to the audience. If the audience is unfamiliar with what you are talking about, your message can be lost or misunderstood.
- Have an organized conclusion. Summarize the main points, review the purpose, and be concise. Do not add on extra information that didn’t get discussed or covered during the presentation and do not repeat unnecessary information.
Anderson, Chris, and Kimberly D. Elsbach. “How to Give a Killer Presentation.” Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2013/06/how-to-give-a-killer-presentation. Accessed 28 June 2022.
DO-IT. “Presentation Tips | DO-IT.” University of Washington, https://www.washington.edu/doit/presentation-tips-0. Accessed 28 June 2022.
Eton X. “How to use body language during a presentation.” EtonX, 19 February 2018, https://etonx.com/how-to-use-body-language-during-a-presentation/. Accessed 12 July 2022.