4 Elements a Speaker Can Use To Improve Their Presentation

September 6, 2019 by  

We all want to be good speakers. We all want to feel comfortable, look credible, and mostly, have people follow our advice when we speak. After all, the reason we make presentations is to change behaviours, attitudes, or beliefs. There is no magic to improving your presentations, just time and effort. All speakers, regardless of their abilities or level of nervousness, can improve if they follow these 4 steps.

Make Time To Prepare – There is simply no way around this: it takes time to create a strong presentation. It is easy to procrastinate thinking that since you know your subject and will just be talking; you do not need to prepare. To have a strong presentation, you must allow adequate time to think, create visual aids, and practice. One of the most important keys to a successful and impactful presentation is your preparation, so practice, practice, practice.

Organize Your Presentation – A good presentation has a beginning, a middle, and an end. When it is constructed in this manner you make it clear to the audience where you are going and what you hope they will do when you are done. Taking the time to plan your talk ensures you will cover all the appropriate and necessary material while avoiding confusing and irrelevant side stories or information.

Create Compelling Visuals – While it is easy to create text-heavy slides and bulleted lists, all they compel the audience to do is space out. No one remembers bulleted lists so better to create more interesting slides with less text and more pictures. Design your PowerPoint programs so that they show the audience more images of the ideas they are hearing and explain with your words rather than inviting them to just read the slides. Besides, if all you are going to say is on your slides, what do they need you for? In fact, they can read the slides faster than you can speak them and will disengage because they will get ahead of you and be waiting for the next slide.

Involve Your Audience – Audiences want to be active participants in the conversation, not passive receivers of information. Engaging and involving the audience makes it easier for them to pay attention and retain the relevant information. Asking questions, eliciting comments, and dividing the audience into small discussion groups are effective ways to engage your audience more fully in their learning experience and it will result in a more retentive outcome as well.

The net result of doing the four items listed above is that you will feel more confident as a speaker and audiences equate confidence with credibility. The more confidence you exude as a speaker, the more relaxed the audience will be, and the more they can listen to your words. Confidence alone is not enough to carry your talk – you still need to be organized, deliver your talk well, and have good subject matter expertise.
Your presentation will be more compelling, you will feel more comfortable, look more credible, and your audience will be more likely to take the action you are suggesting. It is not magic, it is not rocket science, rather, it is just four key elements you can employ to improve your talks.