Presentation Skills: Stand Up and Present with Confidence

Audience during my Wikimania talk

Image via Wikipedia

Effective presentation skills are vital for most business roles. Many people never master presentation skills. Therefore, you can really set yourself apart from your colleagues by developing strong presentation skills. Steps to enhance your presentation skills are outlined for inexperienced and semi-experienced presenters below.

Inexperienced presenter


If you have never had any experience in presenting your work to an audience, the first few times will most likely be really uncomfortable and scary. What could help you greatly is to prepare what you can say. This resembles writing a script. Later, as you will acquire experience in presenting your work, you will no longer need scripts. The next thing you need to do is to practice, practice and practice. Start from practicing alone. Divide the presentation into manageable and logical parts and practice each part separately. Then practice each part together in the correct sequence. When you feel you can get through the presentation more or less adequately, start videotaping yourself. When you will see yourself presenting your work, you may likely notice things that you had no idea you were doing. An example can be noisily clapping your hands together when you are trying to make a point. To avoid embarrassment it is, of course, much better to find out about this problem while you are alone. Since you know that you do particular things with your hands while presenting, you can keep one of your hands on your leg and break the habit. After you have videotaped your presentation a few times and you will see a significant improvement in the quality of your presentation and will be ready to set up dry runs. Dry runs are practice presentations to a friendly audience. You can start with your family and, when you are ready, you can ask some of your colleagues to come in for a dry run and afterwards give you feedback and make suggestions on how to improve your presentation. After about 5 dry runs you should be ready to give a good presentation.

Semi-experienced presenter


If you have some experience in presenting your work to an audience, then the preparation steps described above can be shortened in frequency and depth to reflect what you feel is necessary to adequately prepare. However, if you do not feel confident about your presentation skills then it is better to go through all these steps to ensure you are really well prepared.

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Presenting your work to an audience can become one of your favorite activities as you gain more experience. It is exciting. It allows you an opportunity to show your competence, intelligence and reliability. Presenting your work is an opportunity to shine, it is not punishment. You need to embrace it and make the most of it. The ideas above are very helpful and, if followed, will greatly help you in improving your confidence and effectiveness when engaging an audience.

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