You’re about to give an important presentation to a new client. You’ve put together a professional slide show to walk them through your proposal before you seal the deal. But after you fire up your laptop, you realize that there’s an issue. You fumble about trying to find the right cable for the right port. You have no idea how to hook up your laptop to the projector.
HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort, DVI, USB-C — which one is the right one? Without knowing how to set up the display, you end up leaving a lousy impression and have to bump your presentation to another day.
These issues are all too common — but they don’t have to be for your business. With Lifesize, you’ll never miss out on an opportunity due to presentation technical difficulties. Our enterprise video conferencing and presentation solutions make it easy to get connected and give a great presentation. Read on for our tips for how to improve your presentation and speaking skills in 2019.
10 Tips for Improving Your Presentation Skills
Getting your presentation equipment working is one part of giving an impactful, persuasive and professional presentation. Oral communication skills and a total understanding of the topic you’re presenting are essential to making the most out of your presentation. Here are 10 tips for how to improve your presentation skills that will put you on the right path to becoming a master presenter.
1. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Presentations are as much about performance as they are about content. By knowing your presentation inside and out, you become the expert in your presentation content. Practice your presentation over and over, doing full run-throughs from start to finish until you feel confident! With good preparation, you'll be ready to deliver the important points with skill!
2. Come Prepared with Materials
An amazingly useful yet seldom-used tool in presentation software is the speaker notes feature. Within your slides, you can jot down notes to help guide you through the presentation. Doing so will help you in case you get lost or need to expand further beyond the slide outline. You can also carry flashcards with your speaking points to help direct your presentation. This allows you to stay on top of your notes while also giving you the freedom to stray away from your laptop or podium.
3. Know How to Use Presentation Equipment
Nothing dispels any notion of confidence like a presenter who’s struggling to get their presentation shown on the screen. Make sure you take the time to check out the equipment in the meeting space prior to your presentation. If wireless screen sharing connectivity isn’t available, be sure to gather any dongles or extra cords you may need and set them up before your clients or colleagues arrive.
If you want to make your presentations easier and hassle-free, check out Lifesize Share™, the truly wireless content sharing and screen sharing device. Eliminate the hassle and wasted time trying to connect to the meeting room — share your screen in real time, play a video and control your presentation right from your mobile device.
4. Anticipate Questions
Almost every presentation ends with a Q&A session between presenter and audience. The best presenters will have anticipated the most important questions before they’re even asked and should already have some supplemental slides at the ready to address them.
Anticipating questions involves putting yourself in your audience’s shoes. Imagine the average person who will be listening — the level of understanding they have of your topic, the kind of education they have and the problems that your presentation aims to address. Think of the questions that would be most relevant to them.
5. Slow Down
Whether due to anxiety, time pressure or overexcitement, it’s a common presentation flub to start talking faster and presenting at a quicker pace than you should.
When you start practicing your presentation, try recording yourself with a tool like Lifesize® Record and Share to keep an eye on your timing and pacing.
6. Visualize How You Want to Present
This is the classic “fake it till you make it” method of practicing. Picture yourself as a calm and composed presenter, using hand gestures and making eye contact with your colleagues. If you keep it up, you’ll eventually associate the memory of calmness with the idea of the presentation. You’ll also develop a certain “muscle memory” that keeps your head on straight when it’s time to actually present.
7. Minimize Distractions
Remove any background applications and turn off notifications before you start your presentation to avoid any distractions. If you’re in a video call, make use of moderator controls to mute anyone on the call creating unnecessary background noise. You'll need to harness the audience's attention as much as possible to deliver your main points and execute a good presentation.
8. Channel Your Inner Cheerleader
It’s easy to become your own worst critic — fight that instinct and be your biggest cheerleader! No one can present your own ideas better than you can, and you’ve probably practiced this enough times to know it like the back of your hand — so make the most of it and trust yourself!
9. Loosen Up
Nothing is more off-putting in a meeting room than a robotic presentation. Use body language, incorporate natural hand gestures and make eye contact so you come off as authentic and relatable. Stand up straight, but keep yourself relaxed, and don’t tense your muscles. Your body language, not just your voice, will telegraph how confident you are.
10. Learn from Others
Watch your colleagues and managers to see how they present. Observe the way they engage their audiences and take note of anything that works. Analyze their missteps, especially if these missteps make it hard to understand their presentations. Learn from their mistakes and build on their successes.
3 Tools You Need for Effective Presentations
Now that you know how you can improve your presentation skills, it’s time to evaluate the technology you have in your meeting space to support you and your team. Take your presentations to the next level with a smart solution, built to support your dynamic team and your innovative ideas.
1. Reliable Video Conferencing Software
By investing in secure and reliable video conferencing software, you and your colleagues can stay connected and have high quality meetings from anywhere. The Lifesize app is streamlined and built to enhance all the different ways your team communicates — from one-on-one audio and video calls to full-scale company meetings among thousands of people in multiple locations.
2. Screen Sharing and Recording Abilities
Having screen- and content-sharing capabilities in the conference room can transform your meeting space into a collaboration hub. Lifesize Share ultrasonically pairs your laptop to the meeting room display for easy and secure wireless screen sharing, leaving both users and IT admins happy. Adding visual aids to a presentation has never been easier! And a robust online meeting recording solution like Lifesize Record and Share makes it easy to send out a recording with a meeting recap or practice your presentation before the big day.
3. High Quality Video Conferencing Systems
No matter how big or small your team is, any meeting is greatly improved by using an enterprise-grade video conferencing camera rather than just a built-in laptop webcam. Built for plug-and-play simplicity and designed to connect you with your teams, Lifesize equipment is the 4K quality, easy-to-use video conferencing hardware you’ve been searching for. With systems that scale from small huddle rooms to large conference rooms and boardrooms, we have a solution tailored for the unique spaces throughout your offices.
Becoming great at public speaking isn’t easy — but with the right technology and right mind-set, you can become the presenter you always thought you could be. If you're planning a virtual presentation, check out our tips presenting online.