You’re about to pitch your awesome idea to your boss and a room of other important people. No sweat, right?
Giving a presentation (and public speaking in general) is one of the most anxiety-inducing activities.
Unfortunately, when you let your nerves get the best of you, the audience likely won’t focus on your great idea. Poor business presentation skills will distract the audience from your message.
Luckily, there are lots of ways to improve these skills. If you want to learn how to nail your pitch and become a presentation superstar, keep reading.
1. Body Language
How you stand and present your body can make or break your presentation.
If you give into your nerves, your body language will likely show it. Bad posture, uneven footing, and having your arms slightly in front to cover yourself are signs of low self-confidence.
When you aren’t confident in your skills, your body language will show it.
Before the big day, practice standing with confidence in the mirror; find your power stance. Relax your shoulders, stand up straight, legs hip-distance apart and weighted evenly between the two. Use your hands for gestures, otherwise, they should be relaxed and not gripping your notes so tightly they shake.
When your body looks confident, your audience will feel relaxed as well.
You should feel confident in your material and in your business presentation skills so that you can smile and make eye contact as you present. The stats aren’t the only thing that will sell your idea; your confidence and a positive demeanor are just as important.
2. Your Audience Comes First
The reason you’re giving this presentation is to somehow win over or influence your audience. Every line of your speech should center around that idea.
The boss may not care about the same things that you do, so you need to cater your presentation to what he/she cares about. Use points that address issues they will be concerned about.
Planning Your Speech
Your message needs to be carefully chosen and curated. Choose 1-3 main concepts you want the audience to take away from this presentation. Every sentence, diagram, and video they see or hear should support those concepts.
Wasting your audience’s time is one of the worst things you can do. Ensure your points are clear, concise, and compelling; this tip plus your confidence is what will sell your idea.
If you’re interested in receiving some guidance, this service can help you create an engaging and entertaining presentation.
3. Convert the Nerves
We all feel some jitters in our stomachs before going on stage or to the front of the boardroom. It’s normal for your body to react to your emotions.
However, a skill you need to develop is converting your nervous energy into passion and enthusiasm.
You may be thinking, “I’m so scared I’m going to mess this up” before you take the floor. What those exact feelings can be reinterpreted into is, “this topic is so important, and I can’t wait to do it justice!”.
Getting used to choosing the positive spin on every negative emotion will train you to feel less nervous.
Even if you know your speech like the back of your hand you should still practice.
Consider asking people you trust and are knowledgeable on your topic to watch a couple practice-presentations from you. Ask them for their honest feedback and work on whatever they say.
Maybe you need to slow down on certain parts or pause for effect on others. Are you appearing confident and relaxed?
You could even record your presentation on video or voice recorder and play it back for yourself. Try it again in front of a mirror to check your stance and body language.
Practicing in front of the mirror and for your peers are great examples of presentation skill prep.
5. Observe Others
If you’re in a workplace where you get to see your colleagues make presentations, observe what they do well and what they could improve.
Notice how the audience responds to their presentation. Are people staring off into space and yawning? Or do they seem engaged in what the presenter is saying?
If you were in that presenter’s shoes, what would you change? Maybe they need to relax and calm their nerves, or maybe they’re so passionate that their points are all over the place.
Use their presentation as an example of what works and what doesn’t.
6. Interact with People
Boardrooms don’t really give you the opportunity to chat up the room before a presentation, but auditoriums do. If you have time, consider talking to people in the audience as you wait for everyone to take their seats.
It makes you seem more approachable and likable if you’re friendly and open to interaction. This will also make your topic more approachable as well.
After your presentation, leave time for questions and comments. You should encourage questions from the audience because it gives you a chance to sell your idea while interacting.
7. Be Mindful
Well before your presentation, you should prepare your mind.
Visualize giving the presentation and your audience benefiting from it. Imagine receiving positive feedback and having your pitch chosen by the boss.
Think positively about the presentation because it isn’t something you can cancel or cheat your way around. The only way is through, so you should embrace it and make it a great experience.
Don’t be afraid to smile during and after your presentation. Aside from the fact that smiling exudes confidence, you should smile because you jumped over a hurdle that will make the next one a little less scary.
Praise yourself afterward regardless of the feedback.
Interested in Learning More Business Presentation Skills?
Presentations don’t have to be nerve-wracking and intimidating. If you follow the tips listed above you’ll be able to deliver a confident, knowledgeable, and charismatic speech that empowers your audience.
And, business presentation skills are more than just what’s mentioned here. To learn more about giving the best presentation possible, check out our blog.