Depending on what you need to learn the answer may be yes or no! What exactly do you need to learn and develop? Do you need to understand the fundamentals, develop your confidence or just brush up on a few skills?
The following are some examples of practical tips that you can try out and practice to improve your presentation skills.
- Before presenting, ensure that you understand as much about your audience as possible (what is their knowledge of the topic, what is their background, what will they be expecting?).Once understood, determine the approach you will take (what information to provide, what questions the presentation should answer, what tone should be adopted etc.).What questions might they ask?
- Outline your presentation by writing down all of the key points and in what order they should be presented.
- Make a video of yourself presenting to others.Critically review it with a colleague or friend.
- The best way to improve public speaking and develop confidence is through practice.
– Seek out opportunities that require you to make presentations to small groups, perhaps outside work with community or service organisations.
- To present opinions forcefully and directly, avoid phrases like ‘it seems to me’ or ‘it is likely that’.Use strong, ‘punchy’ verbs.
- Illustrate key points of your presentation with real life examples that your audience will understand.
- Examine the habits of an excellent speaker (for example, watch the weather presenters on TV).What is it that they do?What are their behaviours, body language etc?What can you learn from them?What are you prepared to try and do differently?
- Learn to read the reaction from the audience.Are they attentive throughout, do any look bored?
- Check your tone of voice and body language, is it consistent with your words?Ask others for feedback.
- Read the following books – Successful Presentation Skills by Andrew Bradbury, You’ve Got To Be Believed To Be Heard.Bert Decker, and The Definitive Book of Body Language, A&B Pease.
While the above is not meant to be an exhaustive list of tips to improve one’s presentation skills, it does serve as an example that a management training course may not be the answer to develop your presentation skills.