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Proficient Presentation Pointers

Jan 31, 2008
Standing up in front of a large number of people requires an immense amount of confidence, preparation, articulation and again confidence! Unless you are one of the rare few who are able to deliver a presentation and are blessed with excellent presentation skills, you are most likely to feel anxious nervous and even be panic stricken. The lead up to a big presentation, I find, is always worse than actually delivering the presentation.

My own presentation skills could always use a bit of improvement, even if I have delivered many presentations, seminars and lectures on various topics. My flaw is how much I will procrastinate in preparing for the dreaded day! This may be the case for many people, or for others it could just be the daunting prospect of all eyes on you and fear of failing to deliver well. This is the problem for everyone - the fear of failing so you are not alone.

In order for us to improve on public speaking and exhibiting better presentation skills, we need to have recognised our mistakes first. Otherwise, how else are we going to know where to improve? The first step to take is to prepare for the presentation. Whether it is a discussion about your coursework title or big meeting with ten executives, you need to have at least spent a sufficient amount of time researching what you will be presenting, working hard to write out a speech or flash cards with bullets and practising in front of a small audience. I have found the best method for me was to practise in front of my family and their friends, including people I did not know in order to gain a more constructive criticism.

The second step is to observe your body language and the body language of other professional speakers! Practising in front of the mirror will enable you to observe your posture, facial expressions and body movement. Many people do not realise how important standing in the right position is vital to delivering a presentation. Imagine another person delivering the same presentation, standing with his or her back hunched and moving around in a sloppy fashion avoiding eye contact. Add to that a monotone, mumbling, quiet voice, and you are looking at people walking out of the room are falling asleep quickly.

Observing people who are experienced public speakers or even comedians, you will notice that they have the attention of the public. Why? Look further and you will see that not only have they spent time preparing, they have worked on their posture, the way they project their voice, they know what they are going to say next and they make sure that they have made eye contact with absolutely everyone in the audience. You have heard of the saying practise until you get it right, well I like to practise until I never get it wrong!

The third step people should understand is that they are not alone if they feel they are not good at giving out presentations. It is natural to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of speaking publicly. It is however, unacceptable to do nothing about it.

The reasons why successful people have become successful, is that they have failed more than they have succeeded and picked themselves up after. Having failed once, it is easy to feel like you should give up, but if those who stick with something for a period, will without a doubt improve if they continue to work hard at it. The whole point of being able to learn how to execute your words perfectly is a way of improving your own perspectives on yourself.

Being a negative thinker is addictive and affects every aspect of your life, often causing depression, alienation and isolation. Therefore, you need to start changing that through various intervention methods - the internet is a great thing for finding help in this area. Even the most experienced of all speakers, still continue to find ways of improving and perfecting their skill, and they are not ashamed to admit to it.
About the Author
Anna Stenning is an expert on presentation skills and has years of experience on delivering countless amounts of presentations. For more information on improving presenting and speaking skills visit http://www.speakfirst.co.uk
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