The Do’s and Don’ts of Giving a Presentation

Preparing a presentation is not an easy task. It can be quite a challenge to compress a million ideas into a concise and powerful presentation. What adds to the challenge is finding a way to present the material so that it connects with the audience. Even the most knowledgeable people can lose their audience due to inadequate presentation skills. The good news is that presentation skills can be learned and refined. That’s why we have put together a list of do’s and don’ts that will help you deliver a more dynamic and effective presentation. 


The DO’S of an Effective Presentation: 


*Practice and Rehearse: We have all heard that practice makes perfect and a presentation is no exception. If you really want to deliver a great presentation it requires a great deal of practice and rehearsing. Practice in front of family, friends, or colleagues and invite them to provide helpful feedback. It can even be helpful to record yourself so you can see what areas could use improvement. 


*Start with a Catchy Opening: You only have one chance to make a good first impression so you want to capture your audience’s attention right away with a catchy opening. Try using a meaningful quote, a startling statistic, or even a personal story to grab your audience. Audiences will decide in those first few minutes whether or not they will pay attention to the rest of your presentation so you need to hook them right from the start. 


*Make Eye Contact: Eye contact is extremely important in order to connect with your audience. 70% of communication is in your body language so it’s important to maintain eye contact throughout your presentation. 


*Slow Down and Speak with Emphasis: Speak slowly and clearly and enunciate your words so your audience can understand what you are saying. Pause briefly between points, giving your audience time to absorb what you are saying. You also want to use inflection to add meaning to your message. This is a great way to emphasize key points and emotions. 


*Use Visuals: A picture is worth a thousand words so illustrate your points using pictures, charts, graphs, or videos. Not only does this increase your audience’s understanding, but it makes your presentation more interesting. 


*Engage Your Audience: Make your audience feel part of the presentation by engaging with them as you speak. Ask questions, take a poll, play a game, or encourage your audience to interact with you in some other way. This helps keep their attention and increases the energy level in the room. 


The DON’TS of Giving a Presentation

*Don’t Read from Your Slides: It’s perfectly acceptable to use a slideshow in your presentations, but you should never read directly from your slides. The text on your slides should be short and concise and serve as a guide for your speaking points. 


*Don’t Read from a Script: You will sound like a robot and miss out on opportunities to connect with your audience. This will prevent you from making eye contact and it makes the presentation feel very impersonal. 


*Don’t Talk Too Fast: It’s easy to begin speaking quickly when you are nervous but speaking too quickly makes it difficult for the audience to understand you, let alone absorb the information. 


*Don’t Fidget with Your Hands: Avoid fidgeting with your hands while you are speaking. Not only is this extremely distracting, but it lets the audience know that you are nervous and it can take away from your credibility. 


*Don’t Use Filler Words: Avoid saying words like “um” or “and” when you are speaking. Practice pausing and thinking in your head instead of using unnecessary filler words. 


*Don’t Pace Around: Try not to pace around the stage when you are talking, as this can be distracting and annoying to your audience. Move around the stage, but do so with purpose.