No matter how often you present, the act of presentation can be unnerving, but you can use various presentation skills exercises to calm your nerves. Few of us are natural, eloquent speakers, but each of us can practice enough to reach that plateau. Establishing your personal speaking style should make presenting easier for you. Don’t hesitate to incorporate enthusiasm, proprietary information, useful content, and even humor in your presentations.
One of the most important presentation skills exercises is simply to practice. A key to giving a stimulating and persuasive presentation is your own comfort level. Keep a script of your presentation that you can practice from and, if possible, try to practice at the location at which you are to speak. This will make you familiar with both logistics and acoustics. Practice with the microphone and lighting, and make sure you understand the seating.
You should also practice giving your presentation from different positions, such as standing, sitting, or walking to increase your comfort level. Try to recruit someone to listen as you practice. You should also use previous presentations as a learning tool. Listening to other presentations you have given can make you more aware of certain aspects of your delivery.
Counter Nerves with Enthusiasm
Nothing draws attention like enthusiasm. One of the presentations skills exercises that you will benefit from is incorporating as much enthusiasm as possible into your presentation. Practice with fluctuations in voice and changes of pace. Listen to previous presentations that you have given to determine where you can add more pep or a quicker pace. Experiment with changes in volume and intonation.
Learn from Others
Don’t disregard the skills of others when considering presentation skills exercises. One of the best exercises you can perform is to attend other peoples’ presentations, especially if you are taking part in a conference. Make time to attend the presentations that occur before yours. This will help you to assess the audience, determine the mood, study the physical logistics of the platform from which you will be presenting. It will also help you to determine strategies for your own presentation.
Mingle with the Masses
Take time to mingle and talk with individuals who will be attending your presentation beforehand. Talking to your audience before you take the stage often makes you seem more approachable. Don’t hesitate to ask attendees questions. You might find that you receive inspiration for your presentation from the very people who will be attending it. Focus on being positive when you meet people. They will pick up on your energy and will be more receptive to what you are saying. If you visualize the best of things happening, they most likely will. Keep in mind that the audience wants you to succeed.
Be Selective About What You Say
When you are performing presentations skills exercises, be selective about what you are going to say. You want to make sure that your presentation is insightful, useful, and informational. As you practice you should discern what should be included and what can be omitted. Make your presentation as strong as possible, avoiding the inclusion of material that is marginal or even unrelated. If your audience is interested in what you are saying and your message is clear, keeping their attention will be an easier task.