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How To Refine & Develop Your Presentation Skills

Understanding the definition of presenting and how to do a presentation, outlining all of the tips & tricks to develop presentation skills.

Inspiring Leadership
  • Release Date: 27 March 2023
  • Author: Speaker Agency
690X460 Presentation Skills

You will come across many instances in life when you have to deliver a presentation to a group of people. It can be daunting, especially if you feel like you don’t have any presentation skills. The nerves build up inside, which usually leads to a bad experience. 

Today, we are focusing on developing presentation skills and the ways to improve your presentation skills. You will read about tips for effective presentations as well. We’ll begin by defining what it means to present something and what a presentation is.

What is a presentation?

The dictionary definition of a presentation is a talk giving information about something.

However, many industry professionals disagree with this as it only really covers one type of presentation. Presentations include informational presentations, motivational presentations, instructional presentations and persuasive presentations. 

Moreover, this definition doesn’t really differentiate between speeches and presentations. When you give a speech, you rely on the spoken word. Often, you’re reading from cards or a sheet of paper. The whole speech is there but it’s a very rehearsed practice. 

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Instead, presentations are more creative and interactive. They involve moving around, gesturing, interacting with the audience, using slideshows and other content, etc.

If you are presenting, you are performing to a crowd with a specific goal in mind. Your body language, eye contact and each word you utter matter. A great presentation is the one which serves the right purpose.

The goal of your presentation might be to inspire, inform, educate or raise awareness. There might be parts of the presentation serving several purposes. That is why presentation preparation is an essential activity.

A successful presentation has the right key points or bullet points addressing the issue. Every aspect of your presentation is important. Even your font size.   

How do you develop presentational skills?

Presentational skills are the tools you will use to give good presentations. Some people are born with the natural ability to present. They are showmen from the moment they’re speaking in front of large crowds and keeping them engaged. Most of us aren’t built this way but we can be! 

To develop your presentation skills, a two-pronged approach is necessary. Firstly, you need to understand what skills are needed. Then, we’ll go over tips and tricks to enhance these skills. 

With that in mind, here are the most important presentation skills you require: 

  • Confidence
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Creativity
  • Flexibility
  • Delivery/tone of voice
  • Likeability

If you develop all of these skills, you’ll be a fantastic presenter that keeps audiences engaged. And you will always get your points across. So, let’s look at what you can do to develop your skills: 

Practice makes perfect

Almost all of the previously mentioned skills will be improved through practice. Get yourself out there as much as possible. Practise your routines and work on things like your gestures, tone of voice, delivery and so on.

If you have a look online, you can find loads of volunteer public speaking jobs that you can apply for. They’re unpaid, but they give you opportunities to practise your presentations. 

Naturally, the more you practise, the more confident you become. As your confidence grows, you can bring more of your personality to the fore, which improves your likeability. You also learn how to adapt your presentations as you do them, which aids your flexibility. 

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Always be well-prepared

Never present something if you’re unprepared. This is a way to destroy your confidence and see a disastrous knock-on effect with all your other presentation skills. Preparing your presentations is the key to being confident in what you’re saying. It helps you know what to do and when to do it, adding some structure to your routines. 

Spend a lot of time designing your presentations and going over them again and again. Practice in the mirror at home before any volunteer gigs. Rehearse your lines so you don’t have to constantly read from prompts. This drastically improves your delivery and non-verbal communication, which will help you keep an audience engaged. 

Present things you’re genuinely passionate about

The biggest presentation mistake is presenting things you don’t truly care about. Why would you present them in the first place? Because you know it's what audiences enjoy. You know there’s a market for presentations that cover certain topics, so you make them. 

Unfortunately, a lack of passion shows through. You can come across as boring and unlikeable, which struggles to engage the audience. You must know enough about the topic to present it thoroughly. This is significant for your credibility. 

Stick to what you know and what you’re passionate about. It’s so easy to speak about things you love, often without a detailed script. This improves your flexibility because you can go off-script and change your presentation depending on audience reactions.

If you are passionate about something, you have loads of knowledge to share. As a result, you enhance your likeability and delivery skills - as well as feel more confident. 

Make your presentations more interactive

Don’t just stand there giving a long speech to an audience. Make your presentations more interactive by doing two things: 

  • Ask the audience to get involved
  • Use extra content to support what you’re saying

Additional content in the form of videos or slides can improve your creativity and make your presentations more interesting. Nobody wants to sit and listen to someone speak about something for an hour. Give them more visual aids to prevent boredom from settling in. 

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Likewise, ask questions to your audience or get them to ask you some. Think about potential questions beforehand so you are somewhat prepared to answer them. This is a great way of developing flexibility in your routine and improving the general creativity of the performance. 

Keep calm before you’re up

Confidence is arguably the most critical of all presentation skills. If you’re confident, you will deliver a better presentation. 

Spend time before every presentation calming yourself down and dousing the nerves. It’s normal to get nervous, but practice meditation or deep breathing to settle them down. Once the nerves are calmed, psych yourself up with positive reinforcement. Tell yourself exactly what you’re going to do and what’s going to happen, and you’ll go out and present with confidence. 

Presenting is an art that requires lots of skills if you’re to be successful. Identify the key skills needed to succeed and use our tips to develop them. Now, you’re ready to present like you’ve never presented before.

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