Speaking in front of an audience can be an intimidating experience. Speakers are made, not born, and practicing your speaking skills will ensure that you don’t bomb when it comes time to stand in front of the crowd. By being adequately prepared for your presentation, you can confidently deliver the information, without feeling nervous and anxious.
Many different software tools can help you build amazing slides; you can easily resize an image in a PDF file and create a slide in seconds. Building your competence with presentations takes diligent practice. However, there are a few tips that you can add to your skill set to ensure that your speeches are always top quality.
The 10-20-30 Rule
Is your presentation going to include slideshows? The 10-20-30 rule, created by Guy Kawasaki, comes in handy for PowerPoint slide presentations. The law states that your presentation should have no more than ten slides, last no longer than twenty minutes in total, and have no font that is less than 30. At the absolute most, your presentation could include twenty slides per twenty minutes, but any more than that and you run the risk of distracting your audience from the critical information with too much noise.
The idea behind the 10-20-30 rule is to keep things short and sweet by captivating your audience’s attention and holding it for as long a period as possible. Long winded presentations become dull, and you will lose your audience if you continually waffle on to them. Make your presentations include only vital points and a few keywords. Expand on the slide points with your speaking and make your tone enjoyable.
Be Entertaining, Make Eye-Contact and Speak Slowly
Your presentation needs to be entertaining and fun. Comedy or a quirky light statement will help you hold the attention of your audience. Try to vary your tone of voice, moving from plain to passionate, inquisitive, and formal. Eye contact is an important part of delivering an effective presentation.
As you deliver your speech, glance at the eyes of people in the audience. Make sure that continually shift your gaze from one member of the crowd to another. Unconsciously staring at people can make the individual feel creeped out, so keep those eyeballs moving around the room.
Do not get too wrapped up in the passion you feel for the concept or idea you are presenting. If you speak too quickly, you will lose your audience. Be consciously aware of your prose and your speed of speech as you go through your presentation.
Practice on a Friend or Family Member
If you are having trouble with the tone and pace of your speech, practice on a family member or friend before you get in front of a live audience. Practice makes perfect, and everything you deliver the speech to an active audience your brain will hardwire the experience into your mind. This fact means that it will get easier every time your present, the same way that riding a bicycle gets easier every time you try it.