8 Unexpected Tips For Your Next Coherent, Captivating, & Professional Presentation

  • Practice positivity. Prior to giving a presentation, think positively. Sometimes speakers question if they are adequately prepared for a presentation; they might worry about making mistakes in front of an audience. Instead, consistently think, “I can do this!” or “This presentation will be great!” Positivity goes a long way in subconsciously facilitating greater self-confidence and calming the nerves.

  • Be a storyteller, and create a scene. Stories are compelling and entertaining. Instead of using straightforward statements, tell stories, experiences, and examples to convey a specific point. To further immerse your audience in your stories, reveal your emotions and appeal to the five senses. Discuss your thoughts, feelings, sights, sounds, tastes, and more. Transport audience members to the setting of the story so that they can better relate to you.

  • Communicate compassionately. In other words, be a genuine human. People often create characters when they speak, but spectators will be more attracted to an individual they can empathize with. Tell an emotional story; reveal flaws and vulnerabilities. Emotions catalyze connections with listeners and often speak louder than words.

  • Three is the magic number. Adhere to the rule of three. To build an argument, give three reasons, or even break a presentation into three parts: before, during, and after. Threes are short, sweet, and satisfying; they effectively and memorably convey points to the audience.

  • Experiment with variety. Don’t be afraid to try something different and switch things up during a presentation. Different methods can ensure that the audience stays intrigued. While PowerPoint is a useful presentation medium, there are some alternative methods. For instance, interactive activities—questions, polls (try www.pollev.com), games, humor—and media such as videos, images, and audio can snag the audience’s attention.

  • Startle the audience with an unexpected fact. Insert an unexpected and interesting fact or story into your presentation that relates to the topic—something that no one has heard before. Surprising yet engrossing pieces of information will immediately pique the viewers’ attention and stick in their minds.

  • Channel your energy productively. Sometimes speakers channel their nervous energy into distractive motions such as swaying, rocking, and fidgeting. Find a way to use this energy effectively. For instance, if you fidget while you talk, channel this energy into walking and interacting with the audience during your presentation. Movement, including hand gestures, can be used purposefully to make a point.

  • Plan for imperfection. It’s natural to make mistakes. Your presentation will, in all likelihood, have some flaws. Maybe you stumble over a section of your presentation, or someone’s cellphone rings. Maybe your slides don’t work. Plan for that possibility; practice what you would do in the event of error so that you don’t have to improvise on the spot. What matters is that you don’t let any mistakes or disruptions deter you. But remember: mistakes simply show the audience that you are human too.

For additional presentation tips and tricks, check out the following videos: https://www.ted.com/playlists/226/before_public_speaking