Some love attention, some hate crowds and some are simply meh about it, but there’s one thing that you can never avoid in your life. And no, it’s not the common cold. It’s giving presentations.
Whether you’re a budding adolesecent or a full-fledged corporate employee, speaking in front of a mass is a skill that will serve you well if you master it. So here are a few tips on how you can give memorable presentations and make an impact.
If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy crowds, having to face them head on can be one of your biggest fears. You might as well as kiss your self-esteem goodbye. And eye contact?
How can you maintain eye-contact when you can barely lift your face from your neck?
But here’s an easy trick.
Usually, crowds sit in rows. Pick one person from each row. And look at them simultaneously. Let your gaze shift from one row to the next.
This gives an illusion that you’re actually looking at the entire room instead of the wall or the ceiling.
Do your research
The worst fear when you are giving a presentation is looking like an idiot. Which you will, if you don’t know what you’re talking about. So whatever it is you’re speaking on, make sure you’re well informed.
Google exists today and it’s just a click of a button or just a screen tap away. Use it. In fact, make use of all the available resources. Go to multiple sources. Fact-check your data. And please, for the love of god, practice what you’re going to say. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself fumbling over jargons directly copy-pasted from Wikipedia.
Fake it till you make it
You see that super confident guy swaggering onto the stage like he owns the place? Yeah, trust me. He had his insecurities. No one’s perfect. And confidence doesn’t just exist, you have to build it.
Even if you don’t feel confident, act like it. Most people can’t tell the difference. When speaking in front of a crowd, make your voice loud and clear. Follow the structure you previously assigned to yourself. If it helps, practice that aura of I’m-not-scared-of-anything before you go stand in front of a crowd.
Do everything you can to boost your self-esteem. Dress well if it makes you feel better. Stand up straight. Style your hair a little differently. Read a motivational quote before the presentation. Work out in the morning. Anything, anything that will help.
The 10-20-30 rule
It was Guy Kawasaki, a successful venture capitalist, who came up with this rule about PowerPoint presentation. According to it, there shouldn’t be more than 10 slides in a presentation, it shouldn’t be a second longer than 20 minutes and none of the fonts should be less than size 30.
The 10 slides should hold different kinds of information, each tackling a new subject. The time frame of 20 minutes is to remind you to build a perfect structure and to not go off-topic when you speak. And finally, the size 30 font is so that your slides won’t look like ants are crawling all over it. In Kawasaki’s words, having too much information on the slide is a weak move. It makes you look uninformed about what you’re presenting and makes it seem like you’re using the words as a crutch.
So do yourself a favor and implement this rule on your slides. Of course, you can tweak it here and there.
Believe in what you’re presenting
In other words, be passionate. This doesn’t mean going on full description mode without taking a second’s pause. It means that whatever it is that you’re speaking on should be something you care about, something you’ve spent time mulling over and something you are invested in.
Whether it’s a company’s stock prices or a summary of a movie’s plot, when you’re interested in your own content, your audience will be more inclined to be so too.
Being passionate and keeping your audiences interested aren’t the same thing. It’s the 21st century and the world is in our palm. So use it.
You’re presenting a plot about a movie? Bring clips of the best moments in the said movie.
You’re talking about the black hole discovery? Bring pictures. Bring explanation videos. Bring interviews with the scientists.
When you use what technology can provide in ways that others won’t, you can immediately grab people’s attention. Not only does it have you doing little to no work in front of a crowd, you’re also giving out extra information on the subject. You’re simply presenting without actually being the source of all information.
And guess what? Hearing it from the experts themselves, with evidences guiding the facts you’ve previously mentioned, with pictures and videos supporting your claims, your presentation is only going to seem more authentic.