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The Secret to Success: Polished Presentation Skills
Whether accepting a Golden Globe Award, giving a toast at your best friend’s wedding reception or pitching a marketing idea to a potential client, polished presentation skills make the difference between an “amazing” and “average” performance. We’ve listed a few tips to ensure your presentation is certain to be a success!
- Prepare. How many actors said, “Oh wow! I didn’t prepare a speech or anything,” last night at the Golden Globe Awards? On live television with millions of viewers watching? Practice makes perfect! Rehearsing your lines before a performance is the mark of a pro. While it can be tempting to simply speak “off the cuff,” thorough preparation will ensure a positive outcome.
- Project. Practice and record your presentation in front of a mirror. Listen to your enunciation and vocal inflection. Project your voice toward the audience instead to the screen or your notes. Do you have strong regional accent? If so, try to speak without colloquialisms. If you will be announcing or recognizing specific audience members, make sure you know how to pronounce their names correctly! Speak to the audience with direct eye contact and confidence.
- Pace Yourself. Nerves and adrenaline can often highjack the pace of your presentation. Elevated pitch and accelerated rate of speech can result in being “tongue-tied.” Audience members won’t be able to keep up or jot down notes when you race through a speech. Take the opportunity to catch your breath before presenting and pause with intention between sentences.
- Plan for the Unexpected. Your computer freezes. Your heel breaks before you walk on stage. You were anticipating 10 people and fifty people attend the presentation. Your seasonal allergies attack five minutes before your speech and you can’t quit sneezing. Create a comprehensive checklist the week before your presentation to ensure all the “I’s” are dotted and the “T’s” are crossed.
- Personal and Purposeful. Be authentic. Establish an atmosphere of approachability and make audience members feel comfortable. Share anecdotes and personal stories when appropriate. Your presentation should have a specific purpose and objectives. Why is your message important and relevant? What do you want the audience to remember? Do you want audience members to participate in the discussion?
The secret to success is YOU! Prepare your presentation. Project your voice with confidence and intention. Pace your speech. Plan for the unexpected. Be personal and purposeful. Utilizing these tips will ensure a polished presentation for a professional image in any situation.