Presenting technical concepts to a small audience of your peers can be as nerve‑wracking as presenting to a large group of lay people.
These tips for will help you to present with confidence and deliver with style to any audience.
- The most important element of your presentation is your audience – consider them first. What benefit will they get from listening to you?
- Your style (the way you deliver your presentation) is more important to the audience than the content or visual aids – think about how you will engage the audience.
- ‘Super-prepare’ your introduction to give you a confident start.
- Memorise your opening and closing sentences.
- Start with an anecdote or a funny story; once you have the audience and yourself smiling, you can all relax. Use signposts within your presentation so that people know where you’re taking them.
- Use visual aids only to add impact or help you explain something.
- To win the battle between clarity, detail and time, cut back on the detail and build in time for pauses.
- Prepare a strong exit line for your conclusion.
- Rehearse and time your presentation.
- Check again that your information will meet the likely expectations and needs of your audience. What benefit will they get from listening to you?
On the day
- Check out the venue in advance, and check your visual aids on the venue’s equipment.
- Before you get up to speak, talk to someone out loud; otherwise your voice might break or sound thin and reedy. Do some simple exercises to shake out any excess energy. Take deep breaths; breathe from your abdomen.
- Have a single page of dot‑point notes or a series of palm cards to hand.
- Breathe throughout your talk. Take pauses. Sip some water.
- Look at the audience – they are there to hear what you have to say.
- Be enthusiastic about your topic – enthusiasm is infectious.
- If you lose your way, pause, look at your notes, find a place to restart (it doesn’t matter if you miss a bit or repeat a bit), look at the audience and start again.
- You can’t know everything. If you are asked a question that you don’t know how to answer, that’s fine. Say that you don’t have the answer at hand right now, but could look into it and let them know.
- Focus on the audience and the benefit to them from listening – it is all about them!