Posted on January 17, 2023January 17, 2023 by M. Sorapurepresentation advice? Please share one piece of advice for delivering an excellent in-person presentation.
12 Replies to “presentation advice?”
A piece of advice for delivering an excellent in-person presentation is not to plan too much. Write down a list of bullet points that you want to cover, but don’t create a word for word script. That will usually result in being frazzled because you can’t remember every word you want to say.
When delivering a presentation, through powerpoint for instance, it is important to include general bullet points that aren’t too long or descriptive. These bullet points act as talking references to help the presentation stay on track and run smoothly, while maintaining audience’s attention on the speaker rather than on the words on the screen. Those presenting should also have good knowledge on their topic in a way that lets them “teach the class” and share this information in a specific way.
One piece of advice I have learned in a professional setting for slide show presentations is to reduce the information on your actual slides to ensure the audience’s attention. I have been told that a few bullet points with an abbreviated version of your main points and engaging visuals will keep your audience engaged. With that being said, having a note card with an elaboration of your points is helpful instead of crowding the slide itself.
The best piece of advice I have regarding presenting in a professional setting is to practice beforehand. In spite of being someone who is not particularly gifted at public speaking, I have often assumed that I can persevere in spite of minimal practice and improvise my way through a presentation. Unless I am surrounded by people who I know very well and am already comfortable with, I will invariably freeze up at some point, making it clear I was unprepared. In other instances where I rehearsed my presentation before it was due, I have felt much more comfortable/confident and was able to present with ease.
Something that I’ve found helpful for in-person presentations is practicing and taking a deep breath before starting! Practicing is helpful because it gives you the opportunity to clarify what you want to include in your presentation and what you can leave out. Going into a presentation having already done it in a more low-stakes environment can help you feel more confident when it’s actually time to speak before a class. Still, presentations can be nerve-wracking even with practice, so I also recommend taking a few deep breaths before starting to stay calm.
One piece of advice I have for delivering great in-person presentations is not just to practice but to actually record yourself delivering it as if you were doing the real thing. This allows you to observe your own body language and the speed of your voice, which is hard to do when you just rehearse your “lines” to yourself. It has been super helpful for me, especially when I have to present in front of larger groups.
As a person who has always struggled with public speaking, not even in academic settings, but even conversational situations, I could give many pieces of advice. Among these, I think one piece that I found particularly helpful was “practice makes perfect”. Although not necessarily perfect, I think that practicing your presentation is always a successful method of delivery. I would even suggest writing down a script or the main points that you do not want to accidentally forget, since nerves can make it difficult to recall and think properly. Another way to practice would be to ask someone else to listen to you present it, so you can have an idea of what it feels like to be in front of an audience. In short, practicing is always essential to perfect and deliver an excellent in-person presentation.
One advice I have learned from Professor Jeffrey Hanson (WRIT 105PS) is to present with visual storytelling. As we know people’s attention spans are limited and short so it is important to design a presentation that is tailored to the audience’s interest, need, and want. Some ways to conduct visual storytelling can be through full size imagery, limited numbers and words in big fonts, and consistent colors.
The advice I have for giving a fabulous in-person presentation includes being confident. If you are confident in the way you speak and hold yourself, then I believe the audience will be more inclined to listen and pay attention to you, because the presentation is more enjoyable.
One piece of advice I thought was useful was focusing on one person when speaking and periodically moving to another person throughout the presentation. In this way, it feels less overwhelming because it is now more like a 1:1 conversation than a big presentation for a group.
When it comes to public speaking, I have a lot of nerves and can get tunnel vision very easily. However, I found some methods that really helped me settle my anxiety — some of which people have mentioned before, like deep breaths and being confident. An advice I have is that it’s easy to get into your head about mistakes, but in the case there are multiple presentations happening and there is someone before your presentation, I like to observe the audience’s reactions during mistakes and even my own reaction. Most of the time, I don’t care at all and there isn’t a noticeable difference in the audience. Knowing that it’s usually in my head, I have a better grasp on my fear & nerves during presentations, because I know that no one is laughing at me and that I’m fine.
Before transferring to UCSB, I took a public speaking course. One thing I learned was the importance of small details in how we present make a big difference. Eye connect versus eye contact and how you speak to the audience through your tone make a difference in audience engagement. Eye contact can be intimidating especially when it is prolonged. Eye connect is scanning and communicating with the audience to create a better connection. If the audience feels connected to you and what you are saying they are more likely to actually listen. In addition, speaking with a tone that fits your topic such as being upbeat and enhances the audience’s interest. Speaking in a monotone voice and staring into their eyes can make them bored and uncomfortable.