We spend most of our lives speaking to one another; it is our natural communication channel. However, something strange happens to many people when asked to do the same thing in front of a group. A mere mention of delivering a presentation brings the nervous system into full operation. So why does this happen? It is often a mixture of things. It is fear of:
- falling flat on your face
- drying up
- losing your train of thought (mid-stream)
- what people may think of you
- being boring.
But most of all it’s because you care about your audience and their overall perception of you.
Being nervous is natural: if you’re not nervous and you don’t care, the presentation could either bore or insult. The secret of a good presentation is therefore to appear confident even though you may be nervous. The secret of being confident is in knowing that your presentation is well-prepared and meticulously planned to meet the needs of the audience in question.
In the most essential terms, presentation skills are about the technique adopted to deliver a particular message. This technique involves both organizing the environment (room, atmosphere and facilities etc.) and the individual or person (style, pace, clarity etc.). This is not to say that the message of the presentation itself is not absolutely crucial to success – poor thinking about content is always inexcusable and is a natural presentation killer. However, even dull or poor or insubstantial content can be well delivered, well-received and have high impact if presented well. In addition, even substantial, well-thought through content that can be completely destroyed by poor presentation preparation and organization skills or incompetent delivery. We therefore need to works on both content and delivery.
The Presentations Pocketbook offers many tips and techniques for planning, structuring and delivering a polished presentation. A good starting point for the inexperienced and a quickly assimilated refresher course for the more experienced, the content covers overcoming nerves, handling audience questions, and making the message memorable with visual, hearing and feeling (VHF) support. There is also a practical presentations checklist and lots of visual content to enhance the learning experience.