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Giving an effective presentation has its tricks. That’s exactly where we draw 5 tips on presenting and public speaking for today. Digging deeply into our experience hat, we’re now going to give you 5 of the best presenting and public speaking tips we know, hoping you will feel more confident next time you face a large room or small audience.
First, we should gain awareness that speaking in front of an audience has long been part of human existence; whether we recall the Greeks and their philosophy or drawback to Shakespeare’s “The world’s a stage” lesson, there are unquestionably many things to learn from presenting for live audiences. And in that sense, presenting and speaking in public confidently is an enormous part of a reputable presenter’s skillset.
You know how we love Steve Jobs and his genius in diverse ways. Here’s another example why the man was bursting Marketing bubbles with simplicity. Instead of telling us to just how many inches thin he had managed to reduce an iPhone, or rather than telling the story of a product’s process and development and how it ended up the way it did and why that was so valuable and clever; the apple giant put up a picture of the product and let that be the moment in his presentation when he would send the strongest of points across.
This is similar to when he used envelopes to talk about the thinness of his laptops. Props can certainly help if useful, by the way; but it’s also about how much is being left out in a simpler, powerful action.
Presenting puts you in that decision-making point where you should truly consider if there are better ways of telling a story by just showing your audience something. And, guess what?
Showing takes the angst away; it takes away the pressure of having to know exactly how, what and when to say the perfect lines that will make you victorious of the most challenging Demo Day.
No matter what tips we give here, if there ever was a requisite to effective presentations, rehearsing would take the lead. The right prop, costume or slideshow will never replace the need for a presenter to be focused and so knowledgeable about what they will talk to an audience that it didn’t need its full share of rehearsal hours. Accelerators usually do a good job of reminding founders thereof by scheduling Demo Day practice, training them on scripting and overall exercises of diverse tasks on which to follow up in order to polish the presentation material.
There’s no easy way to go around this; you either rehearsed it, or you didn’t. And the major consideration there is, results truly show.
Big old wise tip; Keep-It-Short-&-Simple. Just KISS it. Keeping your presentations short and simple is one of the eldest pieces of advice from traditional culture. Though we need to go through a set amount of slides that make sense in the overall scope of what we’re doing, make sure to focus on the main message and the purpose why you are presenting; narrow down what your core message is, and let the rest speak on its own, if you can. If you have control over that, your presentation is on the way to succeeding.
As extra piece of advice, think of an elevator pitch, if it helps. Especially if you are struggling with long presentation format, giving your first elevator pitch deck a try might be a good exercise.
Make of eye contact your friend and keep it an ally. Most presenters have a hard time with eye contact. And mastering a presentation has a lot to do with eye contact, actually. It defines how you come across to your audience, keeping the public engaged and, ultimately, losing fear as you feel a grasp over the room in front of you; whether that means over 1 person or 500 filled seats.
Now that we’re at it, think of everyone in the room as important; not just the VC of which you’ve heard or the great master of whatever industry or niche you consider a guru. Everyone in the room matters, especially when you can never possibly know who has come to take which notes for whom in a large investment-related venue.
Related read: Overcoming your fear of Public Speaking
Now, giving a presentation or speaking in front of an audience is all about being able to see and hear whoever is on stage. Make sure people can actually see and hear you. Tied a bit to confidence and your experience with being on stage as a whole, the volume with which one speaks is often the first thing over which we lose control as we attempt to speak in front of an audience.
Turn the volume up without hurting your vocal cords; hopefully you will find that is a better anchor than shivering or hiding behind a stage light. Find confidence in the way your voice projects in the client’s room or showcase the auditorium.
On top of that, try to play with variations in terms of the speed with which you speak. If you vary your pitch and the tone with which you say things, the audience will find it easier to follow along with the flow of your presentation. And if you lag or go way too quickly at your words due to a number of reasons, amongst which fear is key, it’s very easy for your audience to drift away.
Quite easily, we know relying on slides or presentation material means a separate game from sitting on a chair and directing an audience on something we are reading or just sharing out of the experience. The relaxation with which you access an interview is much different than being the single person standing under the lights of an otherwise empty stage. For many experienced speakers, a lot of training and practice has gone into making themselves better presenters. This should not be the exception for anyone who is truly trying to deliver not only effective presentations but impressive public presenting skills.
Best of luck! We hope you make it.