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Tricks to Deliver an Impressive Presentation Every Time

Tricks to Deliver an Impressive Presentation Every Time
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According to Forbes, 70% of Americans agreed that delivering good presentations has been critical for their success at work.[1] Delivering presentations and the communications skills which go along with it are a big part of not only work life, but college, and school too. Yet it is something a lot of us struggle with.

I recall one time, in college, I had to deliver a presentation on a topic, and the person before me was so pro, and covered so much of what I intended to cover, that I was left there, in front of the class mumbling and stumbling my pre-prepared speech. Fear of public speaking (Glossophobia) is so common that a stunning 75% of people suffer from it.[2]

Of course, fear of public speaking is only one aspect of why delivering a great presentation can be tough. You may find yourself having to condense weeks of research and pages of information and data into only a handful of minutes.

On top of this you could worry about the format and structure of your presentation (this is a big issue for me).

As it is important for professional or academic success, all these stresses can make presentations seem nightmarish. But they don’t need to be. In fact, your presentation and public speaking skills can be improved tenfold thanks to a handful of tips and considerations.

Many, many books have been published about tackling public speaking, many therapists specialize on helping people with this anxiety (of course, if you feel like seeing one may help, go for it!) but great improvement can be made without too much effort. See the tips below.

Drop Verbal Fillers

Every-day conversation and talk is actually pretty strange if you really pay attention and focus on it. We speak in run on sentences, sometimes don’t quite make sense, make points that don’t lead anywhere, and most of all, fill our talks with little verbal ticks and filler words.[3]

Filler words fill our spoken sentences with words like “um”, “ah” “like”, and “you know?” words, that don’t mean anything, and are only there so you can keep making a sound when you figure out what to say next. Its perfectly natural and pretty much everyone does them.

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We are all so accustomed these elements of casual conversation that we don’t notice them. However during a high pressure activity like delivering a presentation we can start to become really aware of it all, and start to kick ourselves for making them. Whats worse, is that they may have a genuinely negative effect on our presentations.

The solution?

Get rid of them.

But how?

A good tip is to record yourself in numerous conversations, then repeatedly listen to them. This will make you much more aware of how you use filler words and will be good step towards dropping them.

Though we don’t like silences, sometimes not saying something for a second, and taking a breath may make you sound more confident than filling your presentations with fillers.

If you need a little bit more help, there is actually an app designed to coach you out of using filler words called Likeso. [4]The app is programmed to pick up your use of filler words when you talk and reveal them to you as a percentage of your overall speech.

Getting rid of filler words will also improve your communication skills generally and make you much more articulate, merely by clearing away unnecessary filler.

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    Inform, Educate, and Entertain

    These three intentions should be core to your presentation. The same ideas were the foundation of the BBC, and were big parts of all of Steve Jobs ‘ presentations and product launches.[5]

    Entertaining those viewing your presentation (perhaps by adding an element of humor to your presentation or other elements) will ensure they won’t be bored during your presentation. Also if you entertain well, they will be drawn to you.

    Informing and educating is where you convey the substance of your presentation.

    Practice, Practice, Practice

    This is by far the most obvious bit of advice, but it is also by far the most important. Before delivering your presentation, you need to know it backwards, forwards, left right, up down, every way.

    If you can, try to memorize as much as possible. This might both help with nerves, but also make you come across as more confident and knowledgeable.

    People are naturally drawn to those they perceive as confident. So, if you deliver your presentation with confidence brought from practice, you may turn those people you’re presenting to, from intimidating judges, to a captivated audience.

    When practicing consider not only the words you’re saying, but how you’re saying them, and your movements and posture. A presentation is pretty much a performance. A piece of theater, and you are the lead actor.

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    Consider your body language

    Though we tend to think that communication is all about what we say, and perhaps tone. It is thought that 94% [6] of how we communicate is actually non verbal, this is a myth, however your gestures and body language are important parts of your communication.[7]

    You could be delivering the most beautifully written presentation ever, but if you deliver it without moving, timidly in the corner with your hands in your pockets. You will seem uninspired and well..boring.

      The good news is, gesturing is perfectly natural, if you make effort to deliver your conversation with confidence, this will show itself in your gestures.[8] All you need to really do is loosen up and the rest will take care of itself.

      If we begin to pay attention to our use of gestures, we may initially begin to feel a bit self conscious and may fight the natural urge to gesture. Don’t pay attention to these feelings, and your presentation will be all the better for it.

      Don’t be afraid to bring in sources and ideas that aren’t directly relevant

      This really only works in presentations when you have a decent amount of time in a presentation. But if a part of your presentation reminds you of something in history, science, or literature and it seems relevant. Don’t be afraid to work it into the presentation. Mark Levy, president of the branding firm Levy Innovation,[9] and the writer of Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight and Content[10] says the following :

      ““If you’re talking about, say, workplace productivity, it’s fine to talk about Pickett’s Charge [in the Battle of Gettysburg] or black holes or an idea from an Elizabeth Gilbert book that, in some way, relates to workplace productivity. Bringing in ideas from other domains keeps people awake and interested, and it’s actually how paradigm shifts are born”[11]

      This makes sense, after all, why are books like Machiavelli’s The Prince or Sun Tzu’s The Art of War still so popular?

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      I don’t believe its because Renaissance era Florentine politics and ancient Chinese warfare are common interests. But instead the lessons contained within (though I’d be wary of those who pay too much attention to Machiavelli) have been used and adapted successfully by those in business.

      Whether to read out loud?

      The advantages of reading your presentation from a pre-written script are at first, pretty clear.

      Focusing on the script will ensure everything you say is valid and appropriate, will help eliminate filler words as you no longer need to think about what to say, and means you don’t need to spend the whole time looking at everyone’s faces and wonder what they’re thinking.

      The advantages are obvious…however they are deceptive.

      It is always a good idea to have something on hand like a script or sheet of notes. However, relying on notes or a script completely will suck out all life from your presentation.

      Also if you are just standing there and reading, you will seem as if you haven’t practiced, and by extension have little interest or knowledge in what you are presenting. This can kill off your presentation entirely. As such, if you don’t think you can memorize the whole thing, you should work hard to find a good mid point.

      Featured photo credit: Judson University via flickr.com

      Reference

      More by this author

      Arthur Peirce

      Lifestyle Writer

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      Last Updated on February 11, 2021

      20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About

      20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About
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      Dreams — Mysterious, bewildering, eye-opening and sometimes a nightmarish living hell. Dreams are all that and much more.

      Here are 20 amazing facts about dreams that you might have never heard about:

      Fact #1: You can’t read while dreaming, or tell the time

        If you are unsure whether you are dreaming or not, try reading something. The vast majority of people are incapable of reading in their dreams.

        The same goes for clocks: each time you look at a clock it will tell a different time and the hands on the clock won’t appear to be moving as reported by lucid dreamers.

        Fact #2: Lucid dreaming

        There is a whole subculture of people practicing what is called lucid or conscious dreaming. Using various techniques, these people have supposedly learned to assume control of their dreams and do amazing things like flying, passing through walls, and traveling to different dimensions or even back in time.

        Want to learn how to control your dreams? You can try these tips:

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        Lucid Dreaming: This Is How You Can Control Your Dreams

        Fact #3: Inventions inspired by dreams

        Dreams are responsible for many of the greatest inventions of mankind. A few examples include:

        • The idea for Google -Larry Page
        • Alternating current generator -Tesla
        • DNA’s double helix spiral form -James Watson
        • The sewing machine -Elias Howe
        • Periodic table -Dimitri Mendeleyev

        …and many, many more.

        Fact #4: Premonition dreams

        There are some astounding cases where people actually dreamt about things which happened to them later, in the exact same ways they dreamed about.

        You could say they got a glimpse of the future, or it might have just been coincidence. The fact remains that this is some seriously interesting and bizarre phenomena. Some of the most famous premonition dreams include:

        • Abraham Lincoln dreamt of His Assassination
        • Many of the victims of 9/11 had dreams warning them about the catastrophe
        • Mark Twain’s dream of his brother’s demise
        • 19 verified precognitive dreams about the Titanic catastrophe

        Fact #5: Sleep paralysis

        Hell is real and it is called sleep paralysis. It’s the stuff of true nightmares. I’ve been a sleep paralysis sufferer as a kid and I can attest to how truly horrible it is.

        Two characteristics of sleep paralysis are the inability to move (hence paralysis) and a sense of an extremely evil presence in the room with you. It doesn’t feel like a dream, but 100% real. Studies show that during an attack, sleep paralysis sufferers show an overwhelming amygdala activity. The amygdala is responsible for the “fight or flight” instinct and the emotions of fear, terror and anxiety. Enough said!

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        Fact #6: REM sleep disorder

        In the state of REM (rapid-eye-movement) stage of your sleep your body is normally paralyzed. In rare cases, however, people act out their dreams. These have resulted in broken arms, legs, broken furniture, and in at least one reported case, a house burnt down.

        Fact #7: Sexual dreams

        The very scientifically-named “nocturnal penile tumescence” is a very well documented phenomena. In laymen’s term, it simply means that you get a stiffy while you sleep. Actually, studies indicate that men get up to 20 erections per dream.

        Fact #8: Unbelievable sleepwalkers

          Sleepwalking is a very rare and potentially dangerous sleep disorder. It is an extreme form of REM sleep disorder, and these people don’t just act out their dreams, but go on real adventures at night.

          Lee Hadwin is a nurse by profession, but in his dreams he is an artist. Literally. He “sleepdraws” gorgeous portraits, of which he has no recollection afterwards. Strange sleepwalking “adventures” include:

          • A woman having sex with strangers while sleepwalking
          • A man who drove 22 miles and killed his cousin while sleepwalking
          • A sleepwalker who walked out of the window from the third floor, and barely survived

          Fact #9: Dream drug

          There are actually people who like dreaming and dreams so much that they never want to wake up. They want to continue on dreaming even during the day, so they take an illegal and extremely potent hallucinogenic drug called Dimethyltryptamine. It is actually only an isolated and synthetic form of the chemical our brains produce naturally during dreaming.

          Fact #10 Dream-catcher

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            The dream-catcher is one of the most well-known Native American symbols. It is a loose web or webs woven around a hoop and decorated with sacred objects meant to protect against nightmares.

            Fact #11: Increased brain activity

            You would associate sleeping with peace and quiet, but actually our brains are more active during sleep than during the day.

            Fact #12: Creativity and dreams

            As we mentioned before, dreams are responsible for inventions, great artworks and are generally just incredibly interesting. They are also “recharging” our creativity.

            Scientists also say that keeping a dream diary helps with creativity.

            In rare cases of REM disorder, people actually don’t dream at all. These people suffer from significantly decreased creativity and perform badly at tasks requiring creative problem solving.

            Fact #13: Pets dream too

              Our animal companions dream as well. Watch a dog or a cat sleep and you can see that they are moving their paws and making noises like they were chasing something. Go get ’em buddy!

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              Fact #14: You always dream—you just don’t remember it

              Many people claim that they don’t dream at all, but that’s not true: we all dream, but up to 60% of people don’t remember their dreams at all.

              Fact #15: Blind people dream too

              Blind people who were not born blind see images in their dreams but people who were born blind don’t see anything at all. They still dream, and their dreams are just as intense and interesting, but they involve the other senses beside sight.

              Fact #16: In your dreams, you only see faces that you already know

                It is proven that in dreams, we can only see faces that we have seen in real life before. So beware: that scary-looking old lady next to you on the bus might as well be in your next nightmare.

                Fact #17: Dreams tend to be negative

                Surprisingly, dreams are more often negative than positive. The three most widely reported emotions felt during dreaming are anger, sadness and fear.

                Fact #18: Multiple dreams per night

                You can have up to seven different dreams per night depending on how many REM cycles you have. We only dream during the REM period of sleep, and the average person dreams one to two hours every night.

                Fact #19: Gender differences

                Interestingly, 70% of all the characters in a man’s dream are other men, but women’s dream contain an equal amount of women and men. Also men’s dreams contain a lot more aggression. Both women and men dream about sexual themes equally often.

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                Fact #20: Not everyone dreams in color

                As much as 12% of people only dream in black and white.

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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