How to create presentations and captivate audiences

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I was lucky to be one of the winners of a contest organized by iQuest during this summer, where the prize was a participation in a presentations training in London. In the 2 days, we did 7 presentations and received instant feedback, while being filmed. We focused on facial expression, pace, soft and strong voice tones, well-used pauses, wide gestures, well-balanced eye contact – the bits and parts of a successful speaker’s skills.

So I put together 7 tips that I want to share with you, hope you will find it useful.

1. Behave. Your image as a presenter starts the very moment people meet you, way before you start presenting. Be natural and show self-confidence as you enter the room and greet people.

2. Prepare. Make sure you’ve prepared your stuff. And not only the PowerPoint presentation or handouts, but yourself as a speaker. Say your presentation out aloud beforehand, alone or to a friend, and work on its fluency and smoothness.

3. Open and close powerfully. People decide you are worth their attention in the first 30 seconds of your speech. Catch them with a good beginning and make them remember you with a strong closing.

4. Lead the questions and answers session. Handle questions skillfully, while staying in control. You set the time. If no one has questions, don’t just stand and wait, but tell the audience: ‘A question I’m frequently asked is…’ In the end, sum up the main idea of your presentation again, doing a second closing and leave the battlefield as a hero.

5. Make eye contact. In order to catch people’s attention, you need to look at them. Try to look at everyone: focus for about 2-5 seconds on each person.

6. Add movement to your speech. Be theatrical, but don’t be a clown. Back up your speech with wide gestures, good tone of voice and well-used pauses. People will keep you in mind, even if your speech is about the most boring topic in the world.

7. Have fun. Don’t just go through a presentation and be happy it’s over at the end. Be aware that you have a great chance to give something to people through your speech and try to enjoy every minute of it.

The most important thing of all, SMILE! It makes what you say sound more appealing and makes people smile back. And not just one smile or two, smile as much as you can. It’ll light up your face, make ideas seem brighter and will captivate people to really listen to you.

It was a great chance to learn all this. And it’s a great chance to share it. I’ve personally had a double gain: that of a trainee and that of a trainer myself.
So thanks iQuest, for the chance I got to be part of such a valuable training experience.

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