Effective presentation skills are not solely for few people. The confidence and ability to stand up in front of an audience and speak is an extremely powerful competency. In today’s era of cut throat competition, one needs to be a highly effective presenter right from the start of his career from cracking an interview, to remain in the current position and grow to a senior position or during appraisal. Effective presentation skills can be developed by overcoming flaws through practice and preparation.
Nervousness and fear of presentation is one of the major obstacles to an effective presentation. It is noted from “The Book Of Lists 1977” that fear of public speaking is ahead of fear of death among life’s major fears. The fear of speaking in public covers 41% of a person’s fears whereas fear of death covers 19%. If a person is nervous and does not make the audience feel it can overcome it easily. Some of the major causes of nervousness are fear of answering questions, health condition of the presenter, hunger, thirst, a nature call or anything that disturbs the engagement and comfort level of the audience.
Factors that require utmost care while presenting.
- Engagement with the audience: In order to impart new information to a group, it is highly important to make them comfortable. A presenter using excessive technical jargon or statistical information which may not create a positive impact on the audience and they do not understand what is being presented. It would initially impress the audience and create a feeling that the presenter is highly knowledgeable but a majority of them fade away as the presentation continues. Sitting through a long and boring presentation that does not interest anyone can be a torture. The scenario becomes much worse when we are the ones giving a presentation that nobody likes.
- Knowing the Audience: It is crucial for a presenter to know who will be the audience, their age, culture, knowledge, designation, their income and occupation. These things will help one in crafting the presentation.
- Eye Contact: A majority of presenters increase the level of engagement with audience and influence them through eye contact. The eye contact starts from left to right by maintaining a uniform eye contact with all sections of the audience. Expert presenters recommend presenting with ceiling eyes and avoid floor eyes.
- Stance and gestures: Presenting with hands in the pocket is not a good sign in presentation which is highly found in men who present. One limits the impact of the message to be conveyed by presenting his hands in his pockets.