Whether presenting to a group of 10 around a boardroom table or a full house of 3,000, there are a few essential presentation skills that make the difference between an excellent and a ho-hum speaker. Take the following Self-Quiz to see how well you do and whether there might be a few things you can learn.
Self Quiz – Presentation Skills
1- Because studies have shown that using visuals has a dramatic effect on message retention, I use visuals as often as possible. However, I actually make it VISUAL (pictures, graphs, tables, props), and not just a bunch of words on a PowerPoint slide.
2- Additionally, I make sure before presenting that I have energy, enthusiasm, and excitement. I know that if I don’t have them, no one listening will either.
3- Knowing that rehearsing is crucial to a great presentation, I rehearse aloud several times—at least one of which is in front of a practice audience that will give me plain, honest feedback.
4- If the presentation is a truly important or critical one, I will memorize my script and use videotaping during my rehearsals to help me fine-tune my delivery.
5- Since people rarely complain of a presentation being too short, I always err on the side of a shorter presentation.
6- Always I establish eye contact with as many people in the audience as I can, fixing my gaze in specific directions for five or six seconds at a time. This helps me establish and enhance my rapport with the group, no matter how small or large.
7- Mostly, I use funny anecdotes—especially ones “against” me—to help me get an audience on my side.
8- Moreover, I make sure to vary my pitch and speed of speaking and to project as if I’m speaking with a slightly deaf aunt.
9- Expertise is critical. I need to know my subject well; otherwise, I shouldn’t be presenting.
10- Use my whole body as a dynamic tool to reinforce my rapport with my audience: my posture conveys confidence and enthusiasm.
11- I know exactly how long my presentation is. I make sure to leave time for Q&A and account for the possibility that I may speak faster than normal the day I give it.
12- Sometimes use my hands with purpose and intention, leaving them at my side when not gesturing.
13- I repeat important messages, and I keep the main messages I want to convey to no more than three.
14- Stories are powerful. I use them to enhance my instruction and convey my messages.
15- Hence, I use my breath to calm any jitters I have either before or during my presentation. I remember that the audience does not notice my nerves nearly as much as I think they do.
After a presentation, it’s important to honestly evaluate it, determine what your learning is, and resolve to address any problems that came up. If you answered true five or fewer times, you may want to work on ways to improve and refine your presentation skills.