Presentation skills

What can you learn about presentation skills from delegate feedback?

Frogs see no evil,hear no evil, speak no evil - presentation skillsIn this series on presentation skills we’ve previously looked at the benefits of giving presentations, overcoming the barriers, effective preparation and different presentation styles.

Preparing and rehearsing the delivery of your presentation is essential. It’s also important to think about things from the perspective of your audience and consider the elements that go into making a presentation interesting for them.

Here are some comments made by conference delegates on what aspects they felt made the presentations interesting. Their feedback provides some useful tips and insights.

“He spoke our language and talked to us as though we were having a friendly chat instead of lecturing us. His attention was focused on us rather than his notes.”

To give your full attention to the audience whilst trying to focus on your content and delivery might sound difficult. Make eye contact with people in different areas of the audience or ask for a show of hands or acknowledging the people at the back of the room.This will help you to connect with your audience and show that you’re focused on them. Avoid industry jargon and use a relaxed and informal tone to help build rapport and maintain their attention.

“He was obviously enjoying himself.”

A confident presenter who is familiar with their content and enjoys speaking to an audience can inject a bit of fun into the proceedings. Take care with making jokes that could fall flat or be considered offensive. An entertaining style can make dull content more palatable.

“She told us the point of the presentation, what we were there for and then kept it short and sweet.”

Remember that people have different learning styles and also different levels of skill and experience. Letting your audience know what you’re going to cover creates a context and introduction to your presentation. It lets you state any objectives, deliverables or learning points right at the start.

“He got my imagination working and kept my attention by telling interesting stories. I have been inspired to find out more about the subject myself.”

Stories are a great way to convey information as people tend to remember more than they would if you just tell them dry facts.

“She made sure we had taken in the key points before moving on. The talk was obviously well-prepared, but also came across as spontaneous.”

When presenting new or unfamiliar information to your audience, it’s helpful to reinforce the key points and make sure they’ve been understood before moving on.

A good presentation can look effortless. The best way to achieve the ease and spontaneity these delegates enjoyed is to keep practising and developing your presentation skills and confidence.

Remember:

THE MORE YOU DO IT, THE EASIER IT BECOMES!

It might help to regard the audience as your clients, even if in fact they are your colleagues and associates. Paying attention to what your audience or client wants and making sure you provide it is good ‘customer service’ and will result in satisfaction for both you and your audience.

Click here for more posts on effective presentations.

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