Professional Presentation Skills

In today’s competitive world, the need to present a highly professional image is now more important than ever. Unfortunately however, it’s easy to miss some of the opportunities available to help you present yourself in the best possible light and, as a result, enjoy the success you deserve.

A professional presentation style requires the confidence and ability to convey the right image that you want your audience to see.

In this article we’ll be looking at some techniques to help you achieve more from your presentations.

Creating a more relaxed style

It’s very hard to project a relaxed and confident image when your nerves have taken over and you are feeling anxious and flustered. So it’s important to have some key techniques at hand to help you control your nervous energy before you begin. Even the most experienced professionals have their own preparation rituals to help them achieve a calm and relaxed state before they present – although this is often unknown to their audiences.

There are lots of ways to help you to control nervous energy before your presentation and ensure that you start off the right way – relaxed, in control and confident. Nerves have a tendency to make you speed up which, in turn has a negative effect on your professional impact.

To help you calm your nerves before you start trying the following breathing technique:

  • Take a deep breath before you start. Start by breathing out through the mouth for as long as possible and then breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth again. If you breathe out for as long as possible – this will help release any hidden tensions in the body.
  • Breathe deeply – from the abdomen, as this creates a more sustained breath. To help achieve this keep the chest and shoulders relaxed – don’t raise them up when you breathe in.
  • Aim to complete two full breaths in the 20 seconds before you present. This will help you to calm any nerves, release hidden tensions and encourage a more relaxed style.

Presenting a polished image

To convey a polished image it’s important that you use your personal resources to your full advantage. One important thing that can be overlooked but is crucial in creating a professional image is that you look and sound confident, even if you aren’t necessarily feeling this way. However, if you act as if you are confident, this can help you to feel more confident. But if you act in a nervous way then the opposite can happen.

Think about what you are doing when you are standing in front of the audience – especially the first few minutes when the nerves tend to be at their highest. Some of the typical habits that people can fall into are that they

  • Fidget
  • Fiddle with hands, a pen, clothes etc
  • Look tense
  • Look down at the floor

All these will give away the fact that you aren’t feeling that confident and you will not come across as professionally as you would like.

In order to make a strong first impression and project a professional image at the start of your presentation, try to do the following before you start to speak:

  • Move forward towards your audience to address them at the start. This will help you build immediate rapport with the audience.
  • Take two to three seconds to look at your audience before you start to speak. This gives the impression that you are commanding them to pay attention to you and conveys an image of authority.
  • The delay in speaking also allows you to make a mental note of the size of the audience – how large the seating area is – so that you are more likely to look at different sections of the audience during the presentation.

Talking like a professional

It may be easy to talk about your presentation topic in normal conversation but as soon as you are standing in front of an audience, you may become more hesitant and sound less fluent.

To talk like a professional you must speak with enough clarity and confidence so that the audience hear every word you say. If they can’t hear every word they will soon start to lose interest and switch off.

To help maintain a clear and confident style try the following vocal technique:

  • Take your time over every word you say – don’t snatch at or merge words or syllables together.
  • To do this you must open your mouth (it’s amazing how many people try to speak through a tense, closed mouth!) and move it enough to make all the word sounds.
  • The consonant sounds are like the muscles of the word. They give the voice greater clarity and conviction. It is important to pronounce them clearly otherwise your voice can sound mumbled and you will look hesitant and unconvincing to your audience.

Taking care to look and sound more confident is something that can be overlooked when you are focusing intently on your presentation content. But by applying the simple techniques described in this article, you can develop a more relaxed, confident and convincing style to create a more professional image.

Invest in your own professional presentation skills

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

Professional Presentation Skills 121 Coaching
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.

Introductory Level Presentation Skills Training
These 1-day public courses are held regularly in Central London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow and are ideal for any of your staff who are new to presenting.

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

Advanced Presentation Skills in London
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.

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