Presentation skills aren’t something that you’re born with. They are something that you can learn.
After all, Barack Obama wasn’t born making speeches and Churchill started life with a voice impediment.
Presenting can be something you enjoy! And, as we all know, if you enjoy something it usually makes you better at it.
You can learn a great deal by working with a trainer, but here are a few presentation skills tips to deal with some common concerns and get you feeling confident.
1. Own the space
When a superstar enters, they own the room. If you arrive early get into the presentation room before your audience. Walk from front to back, walk round the edges. Have a look at the stage from the audience point of view. Make it yours. If you’re late and the crowd are waiting, do the same thing but with your eyes. Scan the presentation room; take in the details before you begin. Even if you feel nervous, you’ll start to make the space your own.
2. Don’t hold your breath
Simple as that really. When you are anxious, your breathing becomes shallower; this affects your voice and drains the confidence from your presenting. Place your hand on your tummy button and breathe down deep. If it’s mid presentation, take a drink, give the audience a question to discuss, and send your breath down low. Steady your ship.
3. Relax your feet
Another rapid fire remedy. The panic is rising, your voice is shaking and your hands are trembling. Stand still and relax your feet. Let go a little. Your feet are your foundation, let them take the weight. Trust us; it’ll make you feel better in a moment of panic.
4. Softly, softly
No one likes being glared at. So win your audience by making soft, gentle eye contact with them all. Think ‘scan the room’, not ‘stare them down’. You’ll make new friends that way.
5. You’re never alone
Presenting is a two way communication. You don’t need to feel alone up there. Ask the audience a question to kick off, make it conversational, allow them to contribute and be happy not to know every answer.
By using a few of these tips your presentations will rest on a surer footing, and you will be well on the way to developing excellent presentation skills.
For further reading, here's some excellent presentation skills tips from The Guardian.