HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsHow effective are your presentation skills?

How effective are your presentation skills?

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In the world of business, it takes powerful effective presentations to express significant information while succeeding in getting the most vital information across.

For one to master effective presentation, all it calls for is to have presentation skills, and it takes constant practice, which is the only way to ensure the presentation will get the vital facts across.

Most company executives and professionals find themselves faced with this scenario in which they have to stand before other professionals to make a presentation. How then can they sharpen their presentation skills so as to make an impact.

This article will explore some of the principles of effective presentation skills that could assist those that have an opportunity to make presentations at various forums.

Eye contact with the audience is always important in building rapport with them. It is believed that looking a person in the eye implies that you are honest, sincere and you believe in what you are presenting.

Most senior executives seem to have a problem in this regard since they get so absorbed in their prepared presentations to the point that they lose touch with their audience.

It is recommended that as a presenter, you keep in touch with your audience throughout your presentation by focusing attention on a certain section and concentrate on talking to them before shifting focus at some other time to another section of your audience.

This can only be made possible by mastering and internalising your presentation.

The presenter has to keep his/her facial expression consistent with the message being delivered. If the message has to do with sympathy don’t put it across with smile on your face.

The smile may very well be due to something that just crossed your mind or something you just saw through the window, but it is difficult for the audience to know about it.

There is need therefore for you as presenter to pay attention to your presentation while you put it across, controlling your gestures as they may be interpreted wrongly by your audience.

The presenter’s posture during the presentation is also of great importance.

Thus it is important that he/she stand upright, focusing on the audience.

Leaning against the podium should be avoided at all cost since it gives an impression that the presenter is boastful, which might end up affecting the audience’s attention thereby distracting them from the presentation.

On the other hand, it has been observed that standing straight does make you appear strong and energetic, especially if you are in an unfamiliar situation.

Speaking clearly and calmly are the other areas that a presenter might need to pay attention to. Remember your audience has set aside their valuable time to listen to your presentation and will be expecting to get value for the time they have set devoted to listen to the presentation.

It is important then to make sure your audience clearly understands what you are saying. Avoid getting excited to the point that words come out tumbling.

Remember, therefore, to remain calm so that you can make your point in a consistent manner that allows your audience to follow your presentation.

An effective presenter will always try to minimise his/her body movements during the presentation.

Many people in your audience will observe those body movements and attention will be diverted from your delivery.

Unnecessary body movements are also viewed as a lack of confidence on your part as a presenter and this could negatively affect your rating by the audience.

Above all, practice, practice and practice. Presentation skills are essential for communicating your thoughts.

The skills are acquired and enhanced through repeated practice so continuous rehearsal will result in you internalising your presentation and enable you to win over your audience.

Paul Nyausaru is a training and development practitioner. He writes in his personal capacity. You can contact him on email pnyausaru@yahoo.co.uk.

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