How can you improve your presentation skills?

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There are a number of ways you can improve your presentation skills

How can you improve your presentation skills? Hi, I’m Shola Kaye, a professional speaking coach and a speaker, and I’m going to answer that question for you, because there are a number of ways that you can improve your presentation skills. The first one I’m going to start with is the obvious one, which is practice. All too often when we have a presentation to make, we are feeling so nervous about it that we tend to leave things till the last minute. And what that tends to do is we spend enough time maybe putting our documents together, or our presentation slides using software like PowerPoint, but what doesn’t happen is we don’t practice the delivery sufficiently.

How practice can help you

The very first thing I’m going to say is that you should be running through your presentation several times. I’m not going to pluck a number out of the air and say, you’ve got to do it at least seven times or five times. But you’ve got to do it enough times so that you know your presentation really well. You know what you’re going to say at which point, and you’ve rehearsed all the different sections so that you feel confident and comfortable in front of your audience.

Learn tools like my A.V.I.D framework

Now, the second thing that I’m going to share with you about how you can improve your presentation skills is a little framework that I tend to use with my clients, and it’s called the A-V-I-D-, the Avid Framework. Now, avid means keen. It means enthusiastic. And also, it spells the word diva, D-I-V-A, backwards. So whether you want to be a diva or you want to be avid doesn’t matter, but the framework still works.

Skills you’ll develop with this framework – be AUTHENTIC

Let’s take the avid direction. Let’s start with a. So A of avid is about being authentic and authenticity, it’s about being confident, really, of yourself, because quite often, we want to be like somebody else when we present or we’re worried we’re not perfect, and it makes us feel a bit shaky and we don’t do as well as we could. So if you can rely on who you want to be as a presenter and rely on the characteristics that you already have, that you’re happy with, that will give you much more of a firm foundation when you present. So that’s A. That’s about being authentic.

Be VALUABLE

Next, we have V, and that’s about being valuable, so making sure that before you give your presentation, you’ve done the work to know what your audience needs to hear from you, who the audience is, and also making sure that you’ve got some good information that’s well structured. Quite often, we feel nervous or panicked about talking and presenting because we haven’t spent enough time structuring and thinking through whether our presentation makes logical sense, if one step flows sensibly from the next. When you’re creating your presentation, you should always be thinking, okay, now what? What comes next? And then what comes after that? And does it make sense? Okay? If you’ve got bits of information, sort of higgledy piggledy, scrambled together, it’s going to throw you off, and it’s also going to throw off your audience. So making sure that you’ve got a really decent structure that makes sense, with each step following logically from the next one.

Be INSPIRING

Then we get to I of our avid framework, so AVI. I is all about your inspiration, how inspiring you are as a communicator to your audience. And what that typically means is using enough stories and examples to bring your presentation to life. You might be telling stories about, perhaps if it’s a work presentation, about somebody in the past who’s used your product or service, or it might be that it just could be an example of some information that you’re sharing and how that’s been used before or even how it was collected. But you want to share some sort of human interest story that will arouse some emotion in your audience, because that will get people much more engaged than if it’s just dry facts. We’ve all heard the expression that facts tell, stories sell, so I is about being inspiring and including stories and supplementary information that can move people and can get them a little bit emotionally involved.

Be DYNAMIC

Finally, we have D, and D is about being a little bit dynamic. And dynamic doesn’t mean you have to jump up and down and be super energetic. [inaudible 00:04:57] Super energetic when you’re presenting. It could be that you have really okay, but I’ve got all fantastic colors, well-designed. That might be your way of being more dynamic. Some people, they might have a particularly energetic speaking style. Other people are interactive when they speak. They get the audience involved. Lots of different ways to be dynamic, but just making sure that you’ve thought of some way to add a bit of life to the presentation, because all too often, presentations are as dull as dust, and no one wants to be there because they’re given in a very halting and nervous way, which puts the audience, makes them feel a bit nervous, too. They are delivered in a very dull way, and there’s not much light to it. So there’s not a lot of reason to really pay attention, right?

Improving your skills will help you be on point when you present

You want your presentations to be powerful. You want them to be engaging. You want them to wake people up, and so some of the tips I’ve just given you about practicing enough, and then also using my little AVID or DIVA Framework, they should help you to make sure that all your presentations are on point. That’s it from me. I’m Shola. Hope this was helpful to you, and check out more tips and information on this site. Take care.

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Shola Kaye is an award-winning speaker, author and professional speaker coach with clients around the world. Her work has been mentioned in Forbes, Harper’s Bazaar and on the BBC.
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