PowerPoint presentations are ubiquitous in corporate settings for a very good reason. They allow for clear and simple presentation of information and ideas to large groups. Well-made PowerPoints can make the difference between a memorable presentation and a forgettable, boring meeting. It’s also important to make sure that you present your PowerPoint in a way that’s accessible to the audience. One of the keys to effective public speaking is that you have to connect to your audience. Humans communicate with their entire bodies, not only with their voices. When presenting, you need to find a way to incorporate natural body language in a way that feels right on stage. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of tips for effective presentations.
Practice With a Mirror: You should always practice your speeches in front of a mirror, but be sure to pay attention to your hands, not just your face. Put down your notes and practice your speech, allowing your hands to move as they naturally would. Pay attention to which gestures look smooth and natural, and which ones seem forced.
Notes: Many people choose to bring small notecards to aid them in their presentation. It’s important to strike a careful balance here. Reading directly from your notes will bore your audience, as will reading directly from the slides. An overly memorized speech, on the other hand, can sound wooden and uninteresting. Try writing just your talking points on your notecards and then speak as though you are having a conversation about them. This way, your speech will sound more relaxed and flow smoothly.
Stay Positive: Some hand gestures can feel overly aggressive, like fists or pointed fingers. Try to steer clear of these types of gestures where possible. The most effective business speeches are strong without being threatening or intimidating. Pay attention to which hand gestures feel more positive than others.
Resting Position: If you try to come up with a hand gesture for every line of your speech, you’ll look very uncomfortable and unprofessional. However, it’s equally unprofessional to rest your hands in an awkward or inappropriate position – don’t cross your arms across your chest or shove your hands in your pockets. Resting your hands gently on the podium is a good way to appear relaxed and comfortable. Practice your resting position too, and find one that works for you.
Remember, the same presentation styles don’t work for everyone. Don’t try to adopt gestures that don’t feel natural to you – the best way to look comfortable on the stage is to actually be comfortable on the stage. When you’re comfortable, your speech and PowerPoint will complement each other for a polished and professional presentation.