10 Presentation Skill Examples
Great presenters capture our minds and our hearts. They look like they were born that way. But, behind every great presenter are learnable skills. Here are a 10 presentation skills examples:
We can learn how to handle your public speaking nerves and build confidence by doing three things:
- Build your skills. Just like learning to ski, our confidence grows when we learn how to do something correctly.
- Prepare and practice. When we prepare properly and practice in increasingly difficult situations, our nerves become used to those situation and less sensitive. More importantly, we can learn efficient preparation and practice skills as over preparing can cause burn-out.
- Use mind-body tools to manage your nerves. This means using your mind to control your body AND using your body to control your mind. To ensure our survival, the mind defaults to a negative picture of the future. However, you can learn skills to reprogram your mind and build confidence.
II. Strong Body Language
Body language is important. It’s one thing to feel confident and another to look confident. Even if your words are perfect, if you’re slouching, your message will appear weak. Standing up with your head held high and looking at the audience is a practiced skill.
III. Dynamic Gestures
We want body language that’s natural and engaging. Right? But what should we do with those hands? Put them in our pockets? No way! In an appropriate way, we use our hands to tell our message.
Body language is cultural. In some cultures, like in Italy, there’s lots of movement. In others, like the German culture, there’s much less. The research tells us that movement helps the audience stay engaged. So, in international business, we need to find a happy medium. We work to find gestures that fit your personality and use them to clarify and emphasise key points.
IV. A Clear And Articulate Voice
Voice is critical. People can’t agree with you if they can’t hear or understand your words. On the other hand, if you’re shouting or speaking too fast, your audience will also tune out. So, it’s important to find the right speed and volume.
The voice is an amazing instrument. In addition to changing the pace and volume, you can change our pitch to make our presentations more dynamic. Just like playing an instrument, we can learn how to “play” our voice.
In international business accents can also be difficult, but there are voice tools and drills to make accents easier to understand.
V. The Ability To Engage With Your Audience
Another key presentation skill is the ability to engage with your audience. This means looking at your audience, making eye contact, and speaking in a way that is easy to understand.
If you’re staring at the screen and reading off a slide, chances are your audience is going to get bored quickly. But if you can find ways to keep them engaged, they’ll be more likely to listen to what you have to say.
This is even more important with virtual presentations. Keep your presentation moving and your audience actively involved. Ask them to put their opinion in the chat or put them in a breakout room to discuss an issue. These sound like simple requests, but we need to practice these virtual skills too.
VI. The Use Of Visual Aids
Visual aids can be a great way to engage your audience and make your points more clear. The key word here is “visual.” Slides, charts, and graphs are a great way to illustrate your ideas and make them easier to understand. People can’t read and listen at the same time, so avoid too words on your slides, use pictures and diagrams instead.
VII. An Organized Structure
Another important presentation skill is having a well-organized structure. This means having an introduction, main body, and conclusion to your presentation. The main body needs a logical and parallel structure with clear key messages.
You can use transitions between sections to help your audience follow along. If your presentation is all over the place, it’s hard for your audience to follow along and they’ll quickly tune out.
VIII. The Ability To Handle Questions
At some point during your presentation, you’re likely going to get questions. How you handle those questions can make or break your presentation. If you’re able to answer them confidently and without getting flustered, you’ll really look like an expert. But if you get defensive, it will have the opposite effect.
The key is preparation. And, there are tools to help you prepare and you can practice this skill. This normally falls under “media training,” because it’s training to handle media interviews.
Storytelling is a great way to keep the audience’s attention and make your points clearer. Leaders, salesman, and politicians use stories to provide heart-felt examples of problems and solutions. As listeners, we tend to empathise with the characters in the stories. Although you may not be comfortable telling a story, there are effective tools to help you design efficient business stories to make your next presentation memorable.
X. The Words You Use
Last but not least, let’s talk about the words you choose. Words can confuse or resonate with your audience. Rhetoric was a classic skill taught to Greek and Roman aristocrats, but rarely taught today. Rhetoric involves figures of speech and other structural techniques to make your speech memorable, effective, or persuasive.
This is an advanced presentation skill used used by leaders and politicians. In international business, we tend to focus on clarity. Let’s face it, it’s more difficult to create a clever phrase if English isn’t your mother tongue. And, when you manage to do so, will the audience understand it. When we manage to get the words right and create a true “sparkler” or “sound bite,” the audience will remember your message and you!
What’s next? Can you really learn these skills?
Yes! Presentation skills aren’t difficult but they do take some knowledge, tools, and physical practice. First, you need self awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. Second, you need some tools and drills. Third, you need to practice, practice, practice.
We offer small group open-enrollment courses for exactly that. Our courses are in English and in Switzerland for international professionals and leaders. They include confidence building video feedback and private coaching sessions. See our public courses, compare our courses, or contact us to learn more. 🙂
Kimberly VanLandingham is the CEO of European Market Link Sàrl, the owner of Presentation Training Switzerland.com. She has 12 years of training experience and 20 years of experience with DuPont, including as a product spokesperson on TV and radio and business leader. Today, she offer training in public speaking, media, and cross-cultural communication to international business leaders and technical teams. She has a Masters in cross-cultural communication and a BS in engineering.