Smile. Maintain eye contact. Breath.
This past Wednesday I had my final presentation for my PR strategies class. Although I was nervous, my overall experience presenting went smoothly. I think it is so important to interact with your audience and ask questions to keep them engaged. Although in some professional settings this may not be acceptable, I think it plays a vital role in keeping your audience’s attention. I came up with trivia questions where the audience had to think on their feet. In my opinion, Trivia is more engaging than rhetorical questions. It is a more interactive way to present your information.
As a presenter and a listener, I have found these tips to be most helpful. I especially agree with the use of visuals to enhance your presentation. Video is also really helpful. I began my presentation with a short clip that set the tone for my slideshow. However, I wish my video was shorter because I had to cut off the video one-third of the way through which might have taken away from my presentation.
Sometimes presentations don’t always turn out the way we rehearsed them in the mirror. You cannot plan for an unenthusiastic audience. I was expecting more interaction from my audience but not everyone was eager to participate. But if anything, this taught me that you have to be flexible and adapt if your presentation does not go the way you planned. You have to think on your feet and work on improvisation. No one wants to see you reading off of a sheet. I purposely did not memorize any part of my presentation. It was easier for me to hold a more natural tone rather than a robotic tone. Above all, it is important to smile and maintain a friendly tone with your audience, unless you are presenting sensitive information. In retrospect, I would have liked to include more visuals in my presentation but there will be many more to come.
One of my classmates shared this TED Talk with the class. It applies to giving presentations and also presenting yourself to your peers.