Ten Tips to Immediately Improve Your Next Presentation

  1. Practice your speech aloud. If you don’t, then your actual presentation is a practice session. You have too much at stake to allow that to happen.
  2. Use a prop in your speech to get and hold attention. Purposeful movement brings the attention of the audience back to you, the speaker. Using a visual to illustrate a point serves that purpose well.
  3. Use your uniqueness to develop some part of your presentation. Learn techniques from good presenters, but don’t imitate another speaker.
  4. Speak for the ear, not the eye; use short words and short sentences. Use action verbs.
  5. Use stories to touch both the mind and heart of your audience. Draw from your own experiences to give  yourself credibility on a specific topic.  If you are not experienced enough to have your own stories, use someone else’s and start by referencing the person to whom it happened.
  6. Be audience-centered, not self-centered in delivering your speech. If you think more about how you are doing as you speak rather than how well the audience is understanding,  you probably will not be as successful as you want.
  7. Practice with the notes you plan to use in your presentation. As you practice with the original notes you will begin to get a feel for when a page of notes ends and to find your place easily when you need a key phrase from your note.  This creates a high comfort level as you speak.
  8. Have a strong ending to your speech. People remember best what you say last.
  9. Use gestures to describe and reinforce your ideas. Your content comes alive when you incorporate the nonverbal with the verbal.
  10. Mix and mingle with audience members before you speak. People you have recently met and shaken hands with will often smile at you when start to speak.  It is fun to speak to a group of smiling faces.
Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at steveboyd111@gmail.com.

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