Ask the average person what scares them the most, and you can bet that many of them will mention about having to make a presentation in front of an audience. The simple fact of that matter is that this need not be a task that will fill you with fear, once you understand how to get better with your presentations you will quickly become confident in your abilities. What’s even better is that your new found sense of confidence will carry over into other aspects of your life. If you have to frequently deliver presentations at work or in school, there are some quite simple ways to improve presentation skills.
The first step in delivering a presentation that will make an impact is to properly prepare in advance. It’s a whole lot easier to feel confident when you take to the stage knowing what you are going to say. While it may look better if you are up there freewheeling such an approach means running the risk of forgetting one of your talking points, which can quickly derail your entire presentation. Once that first mistake happens, your confidence can quickly crumble. Having notes or talking point cue cards is fine to help you out of this.
Other things to consider when you are preparing are the amount of time that you have available, as well as the composition of the audience. Even when you know your subject matter, it can all fall apart quite quickly if the audience is not responsive, or if you have to start stretching at the end of your piece in order to fill up your allotted time. Nothing can kill confidence quicker than either one of those scenarios, which is another reason why preparation is such an important part that gets noticed.
If you always feel nervous and lacking in confidence before you take to the stage, there are things that you can do shortly before you are due to present. Make sure that you arrive well before the time, as that will give you a while to relax and focus on the job at hand. Have a drink of water beforehand to avoid an attack of dry mouth, and you might even consider performing some relaxation techniques in order to help you clear your mind of everything except the information that is part of your presentation.
Once the presentation is over, take some time to meet and greet the people who were in attendance as this is a great way to get feedback. You will also find that the vast majority of people will be complementary, as they are well aware of just how nerve-wracking it can be to talk in front of an audience. Once you get in the habit of doing this, you will learn that people are actually on your side and pulling for you, which can only help build your confidence. That is something that is sure to make all future presentations a little easier to deliver.