The First Step
By Márk Törőcsik
Let’s be honest, we are in a world where the skill of presentation is most likely a really good weapon to keep in your arsenal. Although I have to warn you this article is not a magic spell, so it’s not enough to just read it, you must put in a little work, but don’t worry it’s not that hard.
First, you must research the topic, and try to find some interesting facts connecting to the topic, and fascinating pictures, if possible on almost every slide. If your English is good, I suggest writing down just bullet points. Often I see people forgetting information when they need to present, but if you don’t learn an essay, only a few points, it’s easier to remember. Keep your bullet points on your phone or on a piece of paper in front of you, so you don’t need to turn around to see the board. This way you would not make a bad impression, as there is no need to turn your backs on the audience. Even if you have a paper or something in front of you, only glance at it, and keep eye contact with the people.
Next, please try to be confident, and put on a friendly face. Your mood often has an impact on the audience. If you go up there and display nervousness, fear, maybe even hatred, people will have negative feelings too. However, if you go up confident and happy, most people will have a better feeling, and your presentation will give a better impact. If you can, bring or fake a little passion, it will create interest in the audience. Also, the more confident you are, the less likely you will look awkward, so if you can’t, try to fake it. I assure you, it helps.
To help you start looking more confident, find a good place where you will present, stand there in a comfortable position, if possible not with closed legs like in a salute, but in a wider, confident stance. Try not to move your legs, you can turn from hip, and use your arms to gesture. (Of course, if you messed up where you stand, move to a better position, just don’t do unnecessary movements). Try not to use any filler words like ahhm, uhhm, aaa…etc. It shows uncertainty and is really annoying to several people.
The most important thing is balance, the narrow area between too much and too little, or unpredictable and predictable. For example, your slides (if you use PPT or Prezi) should only contain up to about 5-6 bullet points of information. You should gesture a bit with your hands, but don’t overdo it. You need to find balance. Also, predictability and unpredictability have an interesting connection. People like surprises, but in a predictable way, you just need to make it a bit more interesting. For example, if you put animations on one side, then you should put them on the rest too, or every X pages. Make sure its predictable, but you should try to get different types of animations. Keep it interesting.
So, remember, presentation is a skill. Try to practice it, if nowhere else, then at home. Research, add some interesting facts, pictures. Be confident, and don’t turn your back to the audience. Confidence, no filler words, good stand, and Balance, not too much, not too little, predictability and a bit of unpredictability. Good luck with your next presentation.