10 Ways to Practice Presentation Skills

In your role, do you deliver presentations to others? If so, here are 10 suggestions you might consider as part of your overall presentation development and rehearsal.

1. Review what is to be presented, and to whom. Make certain of the objectives of the meeting, the purpose of the presentation, and the time allotted. Understand the specific audience to whom the presentation will be made.

2. Read and re-read your presentation notes. From the draft to the final PowerPoint, carefully construct not only what will be presented, but begin to visualize the manner in which you will deliver it. Keep your audience in mind.

3. Cull the content for the ambiguous, unnecessary, and redundant, as appropriate. Streamline your slides and remarks so that the presentation flows crisply. Not too much; not too little. Find the balance that feels right.

4. Make sure your slides are in the most logical sequence. The presentation should build upon itself, and the slides should be ordered accordingly.

5. Determine in advance where to place humor, personal stories, or anecdotes. Presentations can be greatly enhanced with humor and personal stories, and their placement should be determined in advance for maximum effect.

6. Anticipate the questions. By knowing your audience, you should be able to anticipate many of their potential questions. By knowing your material, you should know the corresponding answers.

7. As a rehearsal, deliver the presentation to a small group. Go through your entire presentation to a trusted group of associates. Read their expressions and body language, ask for their questions, and make sure the presentation fits within the allotted time.

8. Ask for feedback. Ask the group how the presentation could be improved and strengthened. And remember, don’t be too thin-skinned about constructive criticism. You’ve asked for their help, so listen to them.

9. Adjust as necessary. Consider the group’s feedback along with your own instincts and judgment, and adjust the content as needed. Is the pacing right? Does the humor work? Are your words chosen wisely and effective? Is the delivery clear and confident? Keep searching for improvement.

10. Rehearse again. You can rehearse alone or with a group, but keep scrolling through the entire presentation. Know your stuff, along with exactly how you’ll present it.

Remember, the better your preparation, the more likely your presentation will be successful. Pay attention to your grooming and attire. Go to the front of the room and take a look before your presentation begins. Know with confidence that you are the authority on the material you are about to present.

Good luck. Take a deep breath and go get ‘em!

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