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Improve your Presentations with Project Tools

August 19 2009

At some point in your Project Manager career, you might have to stand up and present to a room full of people. And when you do, you’ll find that it’s not as easy as it looks. So to help you do it, read these tips and hints to…

Improve your Presentation Skills

Prepare with care

To give a great presentation, you need great preparation. Start, by thinking about your topic and the audience and what they are most interested in. Then list your key points and write down the general structure of the presentation ahead.

If you need to, write down every word that you want to say and memorize it. Experienced presenters don’t need to do this. But if you’re a little nervous or you’re new to presenting, then by writing everything down it will boost your confidence and settle your nerves on the day.

On the day

Take these 5 tips to give a fresh, vibrant presentation:

1. Get a good nights sleep beforehand. Eat a healthy breakfast and try and free your schedule, so you’re more relaxed going into it.

2. Before you present, spend 15 minutes going over your presentation.

3. Then concentrate on your breathing for 2 minutes. This focuses your thoughts, relaxes you and gets rid of any nerves.

4. Remember, the open and close of your presentation are the most important parts. So put in extra effort here, to make it memorable.

5. If you forget something or make a mistake, then never stop and apologize. Keep going and try and relax. It will soon be forgotten.

Body Language

It’s said that 80% of a successful presentation is about body language, and only 20% is about content. So use these top tips to communicate the right message through your body:

1. Make eye contact with people at all times. Never stare at the ceiling or back of the room as you present, unless the nerves are too much.

2. Appear confident. Use an open stance, stand tall and proud. Smile and let your personality shine. Don’t be overly formal.

3. Remember that relaxed body language conveys honesty and openness. So walk around a little and make use of props to hold onto.

4. Vary your voice and use slow, open hand gestures. Never have your hands in your pocket or play with a pen. Move your hands to an open position and then pause for effect.

5. Speak slowly and carefully, but passionately. If you’re enthusiastic about the topic, then your listeners will be as well.

Spark Interaction

Encourage interaction with others during your presentation. By having others talk for a few seconds, it takes the focus off you temporarily, to let you clear your head and focus on the key points ahead. Another trick to clear your head is to pause while your team are reading a slide or considering a key points you’ve just mentioned.

Remember, public speaking is one of the hardest things to master. But if you prepare carefully, take it slowly on the day and are enthusiastic about it, then you will deliver a powerful presentation to your colleagues.