Personal Presentation Skills

In today’s highly competitive business environment, one of the key ways to succeed is the ability to communicate well. When presenting, it is often said that you are your best audio and visual aid and knowing how to exploit the use of your soft skills – the way you use your voice and body language, to communicate effectively will certainly help you to increase your overall impact.

In this article we’ll be looking at some techniques to help you achieve more in your next business presentation.

Presentation Training can make all the difference

Liz Banks - Skillstudio MD If you want some expert coaching to help you enhance your presentation skills then Skillstudio are there to help. We provide:-

Presentation Skills 121 Coaching (for all levels)
Half day of full day, 121 coaching in business presenting by an expert trainer. Held throughout the UK on a date and time to suit you and tailored exactly to your personal requirements.

Beginner Level Presentation Skills Training
These 1-day public courses are held regularly in Central London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow.

Effective Presentation Skills (Intermediate level course)
These 2-day public courses are held regularly in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow.

Advanced Presentation Skills
This 2-day Public course is held regularly in Central London.

We can also run our presentation skills courses for your organisation on an in-house basis at your premises throughout the UK and Europe.

Call us today on 08456 444 150 if you want to discuss how our training can help you or your team.

Your voice can make a big impact on your presentation

You probably rely on your voice as one of your main vehicles for clear communication. You may spend a large amount of your working life using your voice to make an impact – whether it is speaking in meetings, on the telephone or giving presentations. So it’s important to invest some time in developing your vocal skills in order to make the most of your voice in every opportunity. In doing so you will learn to:

  • Convey greater confidence
  • Sound more convincing
  • Become more persuasive
  • Assert greater influence
  • Create more interest

Controlling nerves at the start of your presentation

For many – speaking in public in front of an audience is a daunting process. Nerves are one of the most common hurdles people face and they will inevitably kick in when you first start to speak. However, you can learn some simple vocal skills that help you to use the adrenalin created by nerves in a positive way to help you speak with more energy and clarity.

  • Think Slow Motion when you first start to speak to avoid racing ahead and losing track of what you are saying. We tend to speak more quickly when we are nervous. But by consciously slowing down you will be more likely to speak at a controlled pace that your audience can easily follow.
  • Make sure you start with a Strong Stance – with both feet firmly on the ground. Nerves can often cause us to fidget and shuffle our feet. But if you adopt a strong stance before you start to speak, you are less likely to fall into these traps. Instead, your strong posture will help to support you and help you to convey a more confident image in front of your audience.
  • Start your opening with 3 Short Sentences. When we are nervous we have a tendency to speak in long winded sentences. These are much more difficult to deliver, especially when we are nervous and we often end up hesitant and using lots of ums and errs. If you plan your first three sentences, keeping them succinct and easy to say – you open strongly and quickly capture the attention of your audience at the start of your presentation.

Engaging with your audience through eye contact

The way in which you look will also have a strong impact on your audience. If you look impassive or you lack any interaction with your audience, they are unlikely to maintain their concentration or remember what you are saying.

Confident use of eye contact will help you to engage with your audience and maintain their interest in you. If you don’t look at people when you are speaking to them you are losing a huge opportunity to build rapport with them. If you use eye contact in a confident way when you are presenting you are more likely to:

  • Appear more personable and conversational
  • Maintain the attention of all your audience
  • Convey great enthusiasm
  • Read your audience and adapt accordingly
  • Project your message with greater conviction

Eye contact doesn’t always come naturally to us when we are standing in front of an audience. No matter how well we know our material, there is a stark contrast between talking informally and having to present in a formal situation. However the effective use of eye contact is a skill that can be developed through practice. To help you develop a more confident use of eye contact try the following:

  • Share your eye contact around the audience. You can achieve this by imagining that you are giving individual members of the audience ‘nuggets’ of information as you speak. In this way you will feel as if you are having personal conversations with your audience and this will help you to engage more with them.
  • Hold your eye contact for a few seconds. If we are too rapid with our use of eye contact or we flit from one person to another, we can look hesitant and uncomfortable. So once you have directed your eye contact to a specific member of the audience stay with them for a few moments before moving on to someone else. This will help you to look more authoritative and in control of your presentation.
  • Maintain your eye contact at the end of your sentences. When we are feeling nervous we can have a tendency to look down particularly at the end of a sentence. This create a lack of conviction in what we are saying. If you look at the audience at the end of your sentence you will reinforce your message and deliver it with greater conviction.

Invest in yourself

There are no hidden secrets to looking and sounding confident and successful. Good communication skills can be developed through training and practice. It is worth the investment. By enhancing the ways in which you communicate you will develop a stronger influence on your audience and thus encourage them to respond to you in a positive way.

To get some expert advice and coaching click on one of the links below:-

Presentation Skills – 121 coaching
Business Presentation Courses – Open to members of the public
Business Presenting – In-house training for companies and organisations

Skillstudio also offer public courses, 1-2-1 coaching and in-house training in many aspects of presentation skills and communication skills, including public speaking, vocal skills and body language awareness.

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