Improve Your Presentation Skills – Five Great Tips That Really Work

Making a presentation or public speaking rates highly among many people’s list of things they’d really rather not do. For some, it’s a mild dislike. For others, even the thought of having to give a presentation- however low key or informal – can be highly debilitating. This, in turn, can affect relationships, careers and other opportunities.

Whether you’re already a confident and experienced presenter or someone who currently feels they would rather go to the ends of the earth than make a presentation, you can always improve. This article outlines five simple but effective techniques to help you

  • structure your presentation for greatest impact
  • present confidently
  • really use language- and body language – to best effect.

Although they are grounded in NLP (Neurolinguistic programming), you don’t need any formal NLP training to make them work for you.

Format

How you structure your material is one of the keys to its success. The NLP 4MAT System is a system helps your format your presentation and communications to make it appeal to as many people as possible. It starts from the premise that different people want different things from what you’re saying.

For some people, the most important thing to know is ‘why’. So very early on in your presentation, give people a reason for listening – tell them ‘what’s in it for them’ and the benefits they’ll get from listening to you.

Others are more interested in ‘what’. These people want substance – the nuts and bolts of whatever it is you’re talking about is what grabs their attention most. So make sure you flag it up early on and then deliver.

Some focus on ‘how’. They are less interested in the why’ of the ‘what’ and want to experience things for themselves – they want to know how things work in practice. So, whenever you can, include a chance for people to have a go, to try things out for themselves. Where this isn’t possible, and then be sure to include some well illustrated practical examples.

And for the rest, the key question in their minds is ‘what if’. What if I were to take this and apply it? These people love exploring new possibilities – so make sure you include opportunities to discuss or explore this as part of your presentation.

Confidence

NLP has a number of simple but effective tools that can boost your confidence. One that can be particularly helpful when preparing for and giving a presentation is to develop a resource anchor. An anchor is simply a stimulus that is linked to a physiological state. When the anchor is present it triggers a response- the linked physiological state.

So, think of a time when you felt totally confident and recreate that moment in your mind. As you do this, intensify the feeling, so that you really feel what you felt, hear what you heard, see what you saw. When the feeling reaches its peak link it to a unique stimulus. It’s best if this is something that is unobtrusive, easily replicable and unique. People often use something like touching a specific knuckle.

Body language

You cannot not communicate. And your body language speaks volumes.

In creating and developing NLP, its co-creators, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, modelled a number of leading therapists including Virginia Satir. Satir developed five categories or archetypes to understand and handle different behaviours, and in doing so she identified the body language and gestures that are associated with each. The five categories are

  • Blamer
  • Placater
  • Computer
  • Distracter
  • Leveller

Knowing the body language associated with each type and consciously matching your body language to your message and the impression you want to leave people with can really give your presentations the edge.

Language

We take in information all the time through our five senses. It’s how we make sense of our world. And, while might use them all, we each tend to prefer one sense over all the others. And it’s reflected in our language. The words we use a big clue to how we make sense of things. For example, someone who says ‘I see what you mean’ is probably making mental images of what you’ve been talking about. So if you’ve said you just had a beach holiday, they’ll probably be seeing the bright blue sky, the gulls like little white specks high overhead, the golden sand below and so on. Whereas if someone were to respond with ‘that sound like fun’ then they’re probably hearing the waves crashing on the shore, the cries of the gulls and possibly the jaunty tune of the ice cream van.

Now, the important thing to understand here is that while you will also have a preferred sense and this will be reflected in our language, you need to make sure that your presentation appeals to as many people as possible – so that means including words that appeal to

  • Sight
  • Sound
  • Touch (both external sensation and internal feelings)

And, where possible, taste and smell, too.

That way, you’ll hold everyone’s interest and they’ll see, hear and feel that you’re talking to them. The might even find they have a good nose for it and will be licking their lips in anticipation of what you’re going to say next.

Visualise success

This is where you write your future history. Find yourself a quiet spot where you will be undisturbed, sit down and just focus on your breathing for a while as you relax. Next, imagine you’re watching a film or a play of you making the forthcoming presentation exactly as you want it to be – word perfect, poised and in control and having the desired impact on your audience. Everything goes exactly to plan. Once you’ve watched yourself achieve success, step into the scene so that it’s as though you’re looking out onto the audience through your own eyes – remember, you’ve just completed a very successful presentation, so enjoy the feeling and really get in touch with it.

Next become the film director. Mentally step back out of the experience and make any changes to the film that make it even better. The wind the clock forward and keep the film running in your head so you can also see the benefits of making such a successful presentation.

Visualisation can take a little while to get used to. Some people find it ‘clicks’ right away, others find they may need a little more time. Either way, it’s a technique well worth learning as it can be applied to this and many more situations with great effect.

So, there you are! Any one of these tools will help improve your presentations. Used together, they’ll help transform them into something of which you can be justly proud.

Buy Them A Present That Will Get Them Laughing

First you decide when you want to start buying and shopping for the items. If it’s for Christmas then you probably will be shopping after November time or after thanks giving day when its officially the time to buy for Christmas. You then draw up a list of all the people who you are going to buy for. You then decide how many gifts you are going to buy each people. Then you look at your finances to make sure that you have enough money to buy everyone a present.

So after you have compiled a list of the gifts you need to buy, you then think will they actually like the gifts you are going to buy? You then ask your partner to see what they think of your so called shopping list for Christmas. And he or she will confirm or say no that maybe you should buy this that or the other for that person. So a bit of feedback is always a bit better than you shopping for gifts by yourself. We all want and can imagine what kind of reaction we want from people when they see our gifts when we finally give the gift to them to open.

So after the confirmation of the list, it may have taken you maybe a few hours to get it together. You start on your quest to hunt down and to buy these gifts for the people you have chosen to give gifts to. You may go down the high street and may have to make special trips across the town to buy these gifts and a lot of time maybe taken here as you have to first check to make sure it’s the right gift if there are many variants in that product. You then need to shop and queue in the shop if it’s a busy department store. Plus with the feeling of spending money you may be side tracked into spending money else where on things you want for yourself, so you may go over budget from shopping for one item to indulging in gifts for yourself.

If you multiply your time by the amount of shopping for one gifts take and then by how many people you are shopping for, the time take to shop will soon add up. Plus if you have a busy life and a hectic day to day schedule then it will soon take toll in to your day to day life even its for a short time in the year.

The day finally comes when you have the gifts and you are going to give that person the gift the required you so hard work. It doesn’t seem like buying gifts is a hard job but it is when you comes to thinking there is quite a lot of work to do.

When they open the gift and they don’t like it that kind of reaction can put you down a bit. So safe yourself all the agro and buy them something simple like a funny t shirt and without the hard work it could make that person very happy.

Bomb! Ten Easy Steps to Blow Up Your Next Big Presentation – Guaranteed!

Your next presentation is just around the corner. To ensure devastating impact, just follow these ten steps and watch your career catch fire.

1. Avoid Excessive Research

Research is for geeks and bookworms. Do you really want to bore your audience with a bunch of statistics and facts that they can easily get from the library or from Google?

You want to tell people your version of how things work, not someone else’s ideas that have been posted all over the Internet already.

2. Be Spontaneous

Preparation and rehearsals are for amateurs, or actors. By practicing your presentation you only sabotage your chances for spontaneity. Just scribble down a few notes and stuff them in your pocket in case you need them for reference. This allows you to improvise as you go, keeping your talk lively and interesting. People hate predictability.

Plus, by rehearsing your presentation you run the risk of having a bunch of know-it-alls give you unwanted feedback, which may tempt you to make last-minute changes. Do you really want to start over? Remember, this is YOUR show!

3. Always Start 15 Minutes Later

When you go to a 7:30 movie, what time does the feature presentation actually start? Around 7:45. There are usually at least 15 minutes of commercials and previews, to allow people enough time to settle in for the big show.

If this strategy works for multimillion-dollar movies, it will work for you too.

Besides, if you start your talk right on time you’ll only get distracted by the latecomers.

4. Calm Your Nerves

To avoid getting nervous prior to your presentation, have a big meal and an alcoholic beverage right before you start your talk. Both will help you relax to the point where you wish you could take a nap. If food and beverages are not available at the time, head to the nearest pharmacy and get some cold medicine or sleep aids. But don’t overdo it. All you want to do is take the edge off, not go to sleep.

5. Open With a Joke

People like to laugh. Telling a joke at the beginning of your talk will serve as a great ice breaker. And if they hate the rest of your presentation, at least you made them laugh right at the start. And first impressions are the most important.

If you can’t remember any good politically incorrect jokes, pick on someone in the audience. That’s what stand-up comedians do. Before long, you’ll have the audience roaring and in a great mood.

6. Ignore the Audience

When you finally get up to speak, don’t look anyone in the eye. They’ll just make you nervous with their constant staring!

Also, if people shake their heads or roll their eyes while you’re speaking, you won’t get distracted by looking at them, so you stay right on track with your presentation.

7. Use Jargon Liberally

You’re the expert, right? You speak a specialized language that only you and a handful of other experts in your field know. You’ve earned the right to use it. If your audience can’t keep up, it isn’t your problem. Maybe next time they’ll be better prepared and study up on the topic you’re speaking on.

8. Don’t use Audio Visuals

PowerPoint is the devil. It’s complicated and technical and cumbersome to drag around. Plus it adds unnecessary preparation time. And who’s going to set it up? What if there aren’t any electrical outlets or they’re too far from the front of the room? You don’t want to burden yourself with all these technical details. Skip the fancy technology.

9. Time is Money

What you have to say is too important to fit into a predetermined time slot. You might take twenty minutes, you might take two hours. If inspiration strikes during your presentation and you think of additional information your audience should know, are you supposed to withhold it? That wouldn’t be very ethical. Pack as much detail as possible into your speech.

On the flipside, if you run out of things to say before your allocated time is up, people can get back to work and you’ll have directly contributed to office productivity. It’s a win-win situation.

10. Leave Quickly

Audiences are infamous for asking questions after presentations, and if you stick around you’ll only set yourself up for annoying Q & A sessions.

Obviously people weren’t paying attention while you were speaking, so why should you reward them by answering questions that you most likely covered during your talk?

Watch the President the next time he makes a statement to the press. As soon as he’s said what he wants to say, he heads for the exit, with reporters shouting questions after him. Does he waste his time? Neither should you. Perhaps the audience should take notes next time.