How to Improve Presentation Skills

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Slide presentations enhance a speech.
Slide presentations enhance a speech. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Improve your presentation skills so that when you give a speech you are relaxed, organized and effective. You may be asked to give a presentation to promote your business or to be a guest speaker for a charity organization. Standing in front of a group and giving a presentation can put butterflies in your stomach. By preparing ahead of time and by practicing and visualizing your speech, presentations will become powerful and effective. Research what the audience is expecting to hear before writing your speech. Use visual effects such as a PowerPoint slideshow to enhance your speech.

Write an outline of your speech. List the points that you wish to cover. Stick to about three main points for the body of the speech.

Write an opening for your speech. Tell a story or ask a thought-provoking question. Include information about what you plan to talk about and how it will benefit the audience.

Write a closing statement. Create a clever statement or an action plan for the audience to use.

Prepare easy-to-read notes for your speech. Use a large-size font that is easy to read. Place the notes in a place that is easy to see and read. Set a clock or timer next to your notes to keep track of how fast or slowly your speech is going.

Practice giving your speech many times. Practice in front of a mirror. Practice in your car while you are driving. Practice in front of a small group. Ask your family or friends to listen to your speech and offer advice. Join a Toastmasters group for practice. Don’t memorize the speech; just follow the main points from your written outline.

Videotape yourself giving a speech. Look for ways that you can improve your speaking presentation. Listen for repetitive phrases and for nonword fillers such as um or ah.

Visualize giving a successful speech. See the crowd clapping and paying attention to what you have to say. See yourself relaxed and the words flowing confidently from your mouth.

Learn how to operate the equipment that you will be using such as microphones and slide projectors. Practice giving a speech with a microphone. Be sure all of the equipment that you plan to use is working properly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be well prepared so that you have time to practice relaxation techniques before giving a speech.
  • Write an introduction for the emcee to use to introduce you.
  • Wear clothes that are attractive and professional.
  • Avoid clothes that distract the listener from what you are saying.

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