All of us, at various points in our studies or career are expected to take at least one seminar or make a presentation or deliver a speech. Now how to make this exercise a fruitful one? Well, the following few tips will definitely help you in this regard.
- Arrive at the venue early so that you can get prepared mentally and be relaxed. Line up any materials that you might want to use and setup your visual aids. Make everything available in your vicinity before you start. Greet/wish the guests if any present before you take the stage.
- Before you start giving your presentation pause a moment to think about what kind of people you are addressing. Consider the audience in mind before and also during your speech. Always look at your audience members. Do not stare, but casually glance around at individuals and make very brief eye contact for about 1 to 2 seconds.
- Make sure that the session is in your hands and going smoothly as you planned earlier. Check the milestones covered within the time you have presented, along with the feedback from the audience. Make proper gestures and mannerisms during the speech.
- Speak up and speak clearly. Speak slower than you normally would in a conversation so that people can retain the information. Always stand up straight, tilting your shoulders back & holding your heads up. Feel comfortable and confident.
- When you are nervous, you try to cover your vital organs. Do not do it. Great speakers keep their body open. This removes any barrier between the speaker and the audience. Face the audience always. You can crack some jokes to loosen up yourself and the audience.
- Have your palms open. Do this small exercise. Take a look at your palms. Turn them around and have a look at the outside of the palms. Take a look at inside of palms again. What side relaxes your eye? Yes, when you look at the inside of your palm, your eye relaxes. Great speakers open their palms towards the audience. This is to show their openness. This creates an honest connection with the audience. This also helps the audience to appreciate the speaker better. For the same reason, do not show the back of your hands.
- Get comfortable with the stage. Being comfortable allows you to move around and use your body language to good advantage. Not being comfortable restricts the impact of your presentation. Use any international language that the audience understands and that will make the speech look professional.
- If you have a podium, use it of course. But do not touch the podium. If you touch it, you are likely to lean on it and eventually do such things like shaking it. Instead keep a comfortable distance between you and podium. You can keep your notes on it and you can use your hands to gesture. Do not rest your hands on the podium. Use your body language and gestures from a level distance from podium.
- Thank the audience for their attention when you are wrapping it up. Also, thank the sponsors & the guests if any present.
- Stay on the stage for a while after the speech. Make use of this time for taking questions/ feedbacks/ comments from the audience. Address everyone who stays to talk to you. Answer all the questions to the best of your ability. If you do not know, admit that you do not know. If your answer is tentative, explain that your answer is off the top of your head. If a question is obviously of little interest to most people, or takes you too far afield, politely offer to discuss it with the person who asked it after the talk.
So, make the best of these tips and give excellent presentations. All the very best!