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5 Tips for giving a kick-ass presentation

Text: Nicola Davidson; Photography: Katinka Bester

5 Tips for giving a kick-ass presentation

If the thought of making a presentation causes you to break out in a cold sweat, it’s time to face your fears. While you may not like the idea of standing up in front of an audience, being able to present calmly and confidently is a necessary workplace skill. Want to learn how to express yourself more eloquently? Now’s your chance! 

1 Practice makes perfect

It goes without saying that the more prepared you are, the better. Make sure you practice your presentation beforehand so that you’re comfortable and familiar with the material. You may still be nervous on the day, but at least you’ll have hours of preparation to fall back on. 

2 Pay attention to structure

Your messaging needs to be clear right from the start, and a well-structured presentation will help with this. Make sure your audience is aware of your objectives, and ensure that your presentation flows logically. In this way, even if you go blank and forget your next words, your presentation will help jog your memory. 

3 Be engaging and authentic

If you’re nervous, your audience will be, too. Try as far as possible to concentrate on forming a bond with your listeners. Avoid looking down at flash cards and instead use bullets and talking points in your presentation to jog your memory. You’ll be able to maintain eye contact, and your speaking style will flow naturally.  

4 Slow down

Often in a presentation the temptation can be to talk too fast in order to get through the whole ordeal as quickly as possible, resulting in poor diction and miscommunication. Avoid this pitfall by speaking slowly and deliberately, and stay away from fillers like ‘um’, ‘ah’, and ‘like’.

5 Know your audience

Do they like statistics and figures? Do they have a sense of humour? Do they ask a lot of questions? The more you know about your prospective audience, the more you’ll be able to tailor-make your presentation to their needs. At the end of the day, remember that your audience WANTS you to do well – so put any doubts or negativity aside and embrace confidence and positivity instead.

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