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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!
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:
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:
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:
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.
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!