5 Tips for a Better Presentation In Person or Online

Presentations are a form of public speaking. For many trainers, that means one thing: fear.

Even seasoned trainers aren’t immune to the very normal and very natural aversion to public speaking (yes, even trainers have to cope with stage fright). Having a few reliable tricks and techniques in your back pocket can help boost your confidence and improve your presentation. That’s true whether you’re presenting to an audience of 2 or 2,000, in person or online.

These tips can help you hone your approach, upskill your craft, and leave the public speaking jitters behind!

Tip #1: Arrive Early to Your Venue

You never want to be the first person to arrive at a party. But you do want to arrive early when you’re giving a presentation. That’s because getting to the venue before your audience can provide you with a few opportunities:

  • You can become familiar with your presentation setting. In person, this might mean seeing how the room fits with your training style. Online, it might mean testing out the mute or hand raising functions.
  • The ability to settle in and review your materials one last time. This last bit of prep is often what you need to calm your nerves and help you focus.

Tip #2: Pack Your Presentation with Visuals

Nothing will stall your presentation’s momentum faster than a screen filled with words. That’s true whether you’re in-person or online. Everyone knows the value of a good visual aid, so we won’t belabor the point here. But not everyone knows where to start or how to include striking visuals.

So, during your presentation, you can try:

  • Including slides that feature only an image—no text, no bullet points.
  • Start each new section with a powerful image or photograph.
  • Use infographics to help merge the visual and the ideas you want to convey.

Tip #3: Make Sure You're Easy to Hear

There’s nothing more frustrating than a presentation you can’t hear. In online settings, this might be caused by slow internet or a bad microphone. In person, you might be dealing with acoustic interference from the AC unit or a noisy hallway.

The solution is usually to double check any audio/visual equipment you may have before the presentation, just to make sure it’s working properly. You should also try to keep audio distractions to a minimum. For example, if you’re training online, try closing the windows (and alerting those around you that you’ll need some quiet time).

Ensuring you can be heard can help people stay engaged and interested. If your participants can’t hear you, they can’t learn from you.

Tip #4: Take Your Time and Stay Interactive

Presentations don’t have to be one-sided. Even something like a webinar works better when trainers include some interaction. When you’re presenting, it’s important to stop every once in a while, and take a breath—both literally and figuratively. It’s important to give participants time to grapple with and digest all of the information you’re providing.

That breath is a great opportunity to introduce interactivity into your presentation. For example:

  • In online settings, you can use breakout rooms to let participants discuss your ideas or develop new questions at the end of your presentation.
  • In face-to-face settings, you can encourage small discussion groups to talk about the topics you’re covering.

Tip #5: Articulate Your Purpose

Every presentation has a purpose. The importance of communicating that purpose is something Becky Pike-Pluth talked about in her Creative Training Techniques® podcast. Sometimes you need to be obvious and up front about what you hope your training will achieve. Once you and your learners are on the same page, you can start moving forward together.

Being clear about your purpose can give your presentation power, both in terms of your gained confidence and because your audience will know precisely how they’ll benefit by listening.

Stronger Presentations and Calmer Nerves

A stronger, more confident public presentation may be only a few simple tweaks away. And these tips are just the beginning. You can continue to improve your online presentation skills with a Virtual Presentation Skills Crash Course or focus on in person with a Presentation Skills Workshop.

With the right approach, you can conquer your public speaking fear, and knock your next presentation out of the park!

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