Oral presentations are difficult. Not only do they involve effective verbal communication but they involve effective visual communication.
Watch the videos below. Which presentation is better and why?
Being able to express yourself well is an important part of presenting. There are a number of things you can do to improve your verbal communication:
Finish writing your presentation at least a day before it is due so you can practice presenting it
Use your normal speaking voice, don't overcomplicate your explanations and use simple language
Be aware of distracting mannerisms you may have
Practice in front of a mirror, film yourself, or ask a friend to watch you to make sure you don't have any gestures or expressions that might detract from your presentation
Use notes effectively.
Don't read off a script, use notes instead.
Ways to create effective presentation notes
Only include dot-points
After writing your presentation create a copy of it that you can then pare back to the key points; use this version when you're presenting.
Memorise as much about what you want to say as possible
Try to memorise your introduction, main points and conclusion
Use prompt cards
Prompt cards have a few notes about your key points on them; they are designed to jog your memory
Effective presentations are visually engaging both in terms of the Powerpoint slides or other visual aids used and the way the presenter engages with the audience.
How to create great visual aids
Keep the writing to a minimum
Only include your key points on your slides; be succinct
Use pictures, graphs or other visual elements that are relevant to what you are talking about, but make sure you get these from Creative Commons sources so you don't breach Copyright laws!
Have a consistent design
Use the same font and colour scheme on each slide.
Ways to engage your audience
Some simple things you can do in your presentation to make it more engaging for the audience are:
Pace your speaking so the audience is able to follow
Pause when you need to
Make appropriate gestures, such as pointing to your visual aids.
Your audience may also have questions about the points you raise in your presentation. Don't let questions fluster you:
Repeat the question in your own words to make sure you understand it
Ask the questioner to clarify anything you don't understand
Don't be afraid to pause before answering the question
TED is a nonproft organisation devoted to spreading ideas. TED host events where speakers are invited to present an idea in 18 minutes or less. TED talks are great examples of how to give powerful presentations.
This article in the Harvard Business Review by TED curator Chris Anderson gives you some helpful hints on how to give a great presentation. Or watch Chris' talk on TED's Secret to Great Public Speaking below.
Anderson, C. (Presenter). (2016). Chris Anderson: TED's secret to great public speaking [YouTube video]. https://www.ted.com/talks/chris_anderson_teds_secret_to_great_public_speaking