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How to present like a rockstar

14 Oct,2016

 

The importance of presentations have been emphasized and re-emphasized time and again throughout the course of lectures and self-help articles aimed at developing our skills. Unfortunately, our expertise in the art of presentation is locked down to the very basics. It may be commendable that we have garnered praiseworthy dexterity in this regard, however in order to steer our career forward it is essential that we take our talent to even higher levels of eminence.

Dress to Impress

A good presentation begins with you, the presenter. How you appear in front of an audience is quintessential to the success of your presentation therefore it is critical that you do not take the issue of projecting a befitting self-image lightly.

 Your best formal attires will help you achieve the desired effect in this case. However, if your definition of formal extends to an unappealing hybrid of casuals and formals you are at risk of jeopardizing your first impressions with the audience. In other words, imitating Steve Jobs by combining jeans or Corduroys with your flashy shirts does not count as formal. Rather, it is better for you to play safe and go with a suit and a sober tie to make a big impression

Women shouldn’t be an exception to this rule either. Although, both saris and kameezes are an accepted get-up for women in Bangladesh, you may also take into consideration that these clothes are casual or party wear at the same time.  Instead, opting for a suit might help establishing an impression that you mean business and shouldn’t be taken lightly because of your gender.

Mastering public speaking

Clothes can only take you as far as creating a good impression but what make it last or even build are your personal communications skills.

The best speakers always manage to create an electric atmosphere during a presentation. They engage the audience with their sheer  charisma and baffling knowledge about the matter at hand create a true spectacle for people to watch. The secret to their showmanship is however, not in innate talent but a result of years of practice. There must be a balance of matter, a persuasive manner and an artistic flair to pull it off.

You too may extend your skills to such remarkable heights using the right techniques; an easy and effective technique would be to practice your presenting in front of a mirror. This is a common mean used by speech therapists to reduce speech impediments and facilitate individuals to speak with more self-confidence. Showmanship will follow naturally after innumerable rehearsals of your lectures until you master public speaking in its entirety.

However, communication does not end at speaking. Factors like manner and flair come into play- most notably by the presence of body language.. Often a make or break for most presentations body language can be very difficult to perfect as it is involuntary and a matter of habit which means, you might be in troubled waters if your body does not do your image too much justice.

However, you may improve your body language as well. Following your role models or charismatic leaders is a great start and you can take it one step further by incorporating your moves with theirs to your liking; but, this too will reckon thorough practice to grasp completely.

Meanwhile, recording your movements may also come in handy. Since you can’t see how you present, a video recording of your performance will tell you exactly where you are lacking and the areas where you need more work. Make sure to look out for any awkward gestures, stiff movements and crop them out gradually with time.

Slides that make an Impact

Mastering these skills is of utmost importance but what takes a presentation from bad to good to excellent are your Power Point slides. Effective use of Power Point helps facilitate better understanding of your presentation while simultaneously reminding you of your topic of discussion.

This is why it is important that you have your slides designed appropriately. Although it is not necessary that presentations should marvel the audience with jaw-dropping graphics & designs, it is imperative that slides follow a tasteful style and format. A good Power Point slide has short, precise bullet points on easy to read, screen-friendly Sans Serif fonts (e.g. Arial or Segoe UI) and uses soft colours like blue or white for a more professional looking presentation and orange, yellow and other bright colors for a younger audience. But, if simple tasks like choosing templates and color schemes leave you scratching your head then opt for the saved templates and color schemes.

Death by Power Point

Nevertheless, do not rely excessively on the strength of your Power Point to carry your presentation through. A common mistake by most amateurs is to read word for word out of slides and although it is a safe and tempting way out of delivering your presentation, reading out of your slides suggests that you are unprepared and not fully knowledgeable about your topic. Moreover, you may be questioning your audience's intelligence by doubting whether they are educated enough to read slides by themselves. By all means, prepare your own speech and memorise the sequence of your slides so that you hardly have to look up while speaking. This is a method that is guaranteed to create a lasting impression on your audience.

Many presenters prepare their speech in advance and leave room for spontaneity in between the spaces wherever possible. But, if you still feel guilty memorizing speeches and a believe that a better presentation comes out of  improvisation, then you might be mistaken for even the greats such as Apple’s Steve Jobs have confessed to practicing his  dialogue before stepping out to display his latest marvels to the world.

So be confident the next time you are up on a stage presenting to even the most enormous crowd.  Keep these mantras with you all the time and you will woo the audience every time.  Just remember, the magic word   to successful presentations is practice and nothing else.

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