Presentation Skills

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“A widescreen iPod, a revolutionary mobile phone, and an internet communications device” is how Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world.

Impressive, isn’t it?

In one line, he conveyed the purpose of the presentation, introduced the product, and grabbed the audience’s attention.

In simple words, presentation skills mean delivering captivating and informative talks or speeches.

They involve all aspects of presenting, from preparing and organising content to delivering it effectively and analysing afterwards.

This blog will serve as a guide to help you understand presentation skills.

Here, we will cover the 5 Ps of presentation and the key skills required for effective presentation.

We will further dive into some ways to improve presentation skills.

What Are Presentation Skills?

Presentation skills refer to the abilities needed to deliver captivating and informative talks or speeches.

The importance of presentation skills in a professional setting lies in the fact that you might need to present reports to colleagues or managers, conduct training sessions, or update clients on project progress.

To give a compelling presentation, it’s crucial to understand who your audience is and tailor your message accordingly. Whether in front of a small team or a large audience, effective presentation skills can enhance your communication and credibility.

A successful presentation should be well-structured, engaging, and relevant.

In several aspects of your life, you might find yourself presenting, such as:

  • Giving speeches at weddings, conferences, or other events

  • Explaining projects to team members

  • Teaching others specific methods or information

  • Suggesting ideas or motions at community meetings

  • Presenting new business concepts to potential partners or investors

Developing strong presentation skills can greatly enhance your ability to communicate effectively, and the 5Ps of presentation skills can assist you in that.

Ready to check out the 5Ps?

What Are The 5Ps Of Presentation?

If you can comprehend and use the 5Ps of presentation skills – Purpose, Plan, Preparation, Practice and Present – it can make every presentation impactful.

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Let’s dive deeper into the meaning and implementation process of these.

1. Purpose

To begin, it is important to define the purpose or goal of your presentation. Clarifying the purpose is key to whether you aim to persuade the audience, secure a scholarship, or defend a thesis. Understanding the overall objective is crucial; every part of the presentation should align with this purpose.

2. Plan

Next, organise your presentation by reflecting on how to achieve the previously determined goal. Adhere to any guidelines provided, such as time limits or formats. Context matters, too. Think about the presentation setting – room size, setup, or virtual. Adapt your approach to keep the audience engaged.

3. Preparation

Once the goal and planning are done, prepare the details. Follow your plan, create an outline or script, research, and gather materials. Rather than a strict word-for-word script, opt for a detailed outline, which allows you to deviate from the script.

4. Practice

If you ask an expert how to master presentation skills, they’ll say – practise, practise and practise. So, after preparation, it’s essential to practise your presentation. During practice, remember that you should use a real audience to hear your presentation, one that can identify your areas of improvement and provide feedback on them.

5. Present

Finally, deliver your presentation. Embrace flexibility if things deviate from the plan. Remember, your knowledge and confidence will automatically reflect if your research is good and you have enough practice before the final presentation.

During the presentation, the focus should be on having an open body posture and understanding the audience’s body language. Remember to use slides (PowerPoint) as your aid, not your substitute.

Giving an impactful and effective presentation requires a variety of skills, which must be used accurately and in the right synchronisation.

In the next part, we will explore these skills and how to improve presentation skills.

What Are The Key Presentation Skills?

Have you watched a TED talk recently? Ever noticed the speaker, especially those who use a PowerPoint presentation to assist their talk?

The speakers do so much more than just talk – they engage the audience, use the slides, and use their hands and body effectively.

Presentation skills comprise several skills to be used comprehensively and in sync with each other to make the presentation impactful and effective.

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1. Verbal Communication

How you speak and deliver your message greatly influences how your audience perceives your presentation skills. Speak clearly and confidently, pausing when necessary, and adapt your language to resonate with your audience.

Use the P-A-M framework – Purpose, Audience and Message – to convey the message effectively to your audience and enhance your presentation skills.

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  • Purpose

The Purpose is the reason behind the communication. It answers the question, “What do I want to achieve through my message?” Do I want to inspire, inform, entertain, or persuade the audience?

  • Audience

The Audience refers to the group or an individual for whom the message is intended. It answers the question, “Who am I communicating with?” Consider your audience’s interests, attitudes, expectations and knowledge to ensure that your message is relatable and relevant.

  • Message

The Message is the content or information being communicated. It answers the question, “What am I trying to convey?” Clearly articulate the main idea of your speech and keep your content clear, compelling and tailored to the audience’s requirements.

2. Non-verbal Communication

Another important part of presentation skills is non-verbal communication. Non-verbal language includes body language such as posture, gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions. Your body language can instantly transform a dull presentation into a good presentation. Pay attention to how you present yourself and remain open, upright, and adaptable.

You can improve your presentation skills by employing the triangle technique and correcting body posture.

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  • Triangle Technique

Rather than maintaining constant eye contact, adopt the triangle technique. When presenting before 2-3 people, briefly shift your gaze between the listener’s left eye, right eye, and forehead. This conveys attentiveness without making the interaction feel overly intense. Additionally, when presenting before a large group of people, form an imaginary triangle to shift your gaze from one corner of the room to another.

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  • Correcting Posture

Posture is a fundamental aspect of nonverbal communication, influencing how you are perceived and how you perceive yourself. Correct posture includes open palms, standing tall, power poses, and so on. Correcting posture not only conveys confidence and openness but also positively impacts overall well-being.

3. Voice Modulation

In oral presentation skills, projecting your voice efficiently is really important and requires some voice modulation. Appropriate tone modulation ensures everyone can hear your message and boosts your confidence. Stand comfortably, take deep breaths, and enunciate every syllable clearly.

Use the four Ps of voice modulation – power, pace, pause, and pitch to bring changes to the pitch of your voice.

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Power relates to the strength and assertiveness in your voice that can help you captivate the audience. Thorough research contributes to assertive and confident speech. Pace, or speaking speed, conveys urgency and adds weight to the words.

Strategic pauses allow for reflection and emphasise key points. Pitch, or voice modulation, influences the rhythm of your speech – raising it for excitement and lowering it for emotional connection with listeners.

4. Storytelling

Incorporating storytelling in your presentation skills brings your subject to life and engages your audience. Use personal anecdotes, build suspense, and end with a positive takeaway to drive your point home.

You can follow Monroe’s Motivated Sequence for effective storytelling, which suggests an amazing framework.

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Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is a five-step process that requires you to:

(i) Capture the audience’s attention with a compelling opening.

(ii) Establish the need for change.

(iii) Introduce a solution to satisfy the need.

(iv) Paint a vivid picture or visualisation of the positive outcomes.

(v) Clearly state the specific actions you want the audience to take.

This technique will give your story a compelling beginning and engage readers from the outset, prompting them to want to explore the rest of the story.

5. Structured Thinking

Presentation skills are incomplete if there is no specific structure to your presentation.

Structured thinking ensures a logical flow of information, making your presentation more understandable and impactful.

You can structure your thoughts using the CARE framework (Context, Answer, Reason, Examples).

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  • Context

By establishing context, you create a foundation for your message. This allows your audience to grasp the significance of what you’re saying and helps them connect the information to the broader picture.

  • Answer

Clearly presenting the answer early in your communication helps your audience understand the primary takeaway. It provides clarity and sets the direction for the subsequent elements of the communication.

  • Reason

Including the reason for your answer adds depth to your communication. We further add reason to help you build credibility and persuade your audience by demonstrating the logic behind your response.

  • Examples

Examples make your communication more vivid and tangible. They help your audience visualise and connect with your message on a practical level. Including real-life scenarios or tangible instances strengthens the impact of your communication.

6. Emotional Intelligence

One of the most important presentation skills is emotional intelligence.

In the modern-day scenario, emotional quotient (EQ) is more important than intelligence quotient (IQ).

Understanding and considering the other party’s emotions, needs, and perspectives can help you customise the information you are willing to present.

It is important to develop emotional intelligence as a skill to build trust, demonstrate genuine interest, and find solutions that address the concerns of all involved.

To work on your EQ, you will need to be able to incorporate “I” statements in your conversations to convey your understanding and support. Use empathetic language to validate the person’s emotions and experiences.

For example, say phrases like “I understand how you must be feeling” or “I hear you, and I’m here for you.”

7. Writing Skills

Lastly, for those presentations that require a slideshow or PowerPoint, presentation skills also include writing.

Strong writing skills are crucial for crafting clear messages and compelling visual aids. Mastering your presentation’s outline and creating engaging slides contribute to effective communication from start to finish.

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The SCQA method provides a structured approach to enhance your writing skills for an effective presentation.

  • Situation

Clearly define the current situation or context. Provide the necessary background information to set the stage for your communication.

  • Complication

Highlight any challenges, issues, or complications related to the situation. This creates a sense of urgency or importance, emphasising the need for your audience’s attention.

  • Question

Pose a relevant question that prompts critical thinking or consideration. The question acts as a bridge, guiding your audience toward the solution or desired outcome.

  • Answer

Present your answer or proposed solution. This section should address the complication outlined earlier, offering a clear resolution or course of action.

These seven skills can help you turn any presentation into a creative masterpiece by grabbing the audience’s attention for a long time.

Improving presentation skills is an ongoing process, and there are numerous benefits of nurturing presentation skills at personal and professional levels.

Let’s check them out.

What Are The Benefits Of Effective Presentation Skills?

Do you remember your first presentation ever? Mine was in 7th standard in school for a class project, and the last one was a few days back about some blog ideas. Once it starts, presentations become part of us – from once in six months to once in six days – the frequency just increases.

The best part is these presentations urge you to keep working on yourself so that the next one is better. Here, we will observe a few significant benefits of honing presentation skills.

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1. Increased Confidence

Developing presentation skills boosts self-confidence in various settings. Crafting and delivering presentations before a large audience contributes to a heightened sense of confidence. As you become more comfortable presenting information to others, whether in a formal setting or a casual discussion, your confidence naturally increases. This newfound assurance can extend beyond presentations and positively impact various aspects of your personal and professional life.

2. Quick Thinking

Presentation skills cultivate quick thinking and adaptability. When faced with unexpected questions or situations during a presentation, you learn to respond thoughtfully and articulate ideas on the spot. This skill is invaluable in dynamic environments where spontaneity and the ability to handle unforeseen challenges are crucial. It enhances your capacity to stay composed under pressure and think critically, contributing to your overall problem-solving abilities.

3. Improved Speaking

Presentation skills inherently involve public speaking, and honing this skill translates to more effective conversation with diverse audiences. Through practising and refining your public speaking abilities, you become adept at capturing and maintaining audience attention, articulating ideas clearly, and conveying information persuasively. Improved speaking skills empower you to communicate with impact in various professional and social contexts.

4. Improved Writing

Crafting a compelling presentation requires clear and concise written content, infographics, and audio-visual content. Creating well-structured slides, crafting coherent narratives, and selecting impactful visuals all contribute to honing your written communication skills. This improvement extends to emails, reports, and other written forms of communication, making your messages more compelling and easily understood.

5. Effective Leadership

Effective presentation skills often involve leadership qualities, inspiring and motivating others to embrace ideas, goals, or initiatives. Through the practice of delivering persuasive presentations, you develop the ability to articulate a vision, engage your audience emotionally, and influence their perspectives. These leadership skills extend beyond formal presentations, making you a more influential and motivating presence in various professional scenarios.

6. Stronger Time Management

Planning and delivering a presentation require effective time management to ensure a seamless and well-organised delivery. From planning the content to allocating time for practice and Q&A sessions, presentation skills inherently involve time management. This experience translates into improved overall time management skills, helping you prioritise tasks, meet deadlines, and efficiently allocate resources in both personal and professional contexts.

In the next section, we will observe 3 simple, actionable steps other than the detailed frameworks highlighted above that can help you improve your presentation skills.

How To Improve Presentation Skills?

Think about things that may go wrong in a presentation – you may forget the content, use incorrect data due to nervousness, face difficulty using the slides, or maybe start shivering out of fear.

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Honestly, a lot of things can go wrong in a presentation unless you do these three things:

1. Prepare A Brief Script

An important aspect of presentation skills is being prepared with a reference document. Clearly outline the key points, reference data and structure of your presentation on note cards. Define the introduction, main content, and conclusion and include anecdotes, examples, or stories to make your content more engaging.

Rehearse your presentation multiple times to familiarise yourself with the script’s content and improve fluency and confidence. Avoid memorising the script word-for-word, as it may lead to a robotic and monotonous delivery. Instead, use bullet points or keywords on cue cards to prompt your memory.

2. Learn Using Presentation Tools

First, learn how to use Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, Canva, and other slide-creation tools to brush up on your presentation skills. Familiarise yourself with the basic features of these presentation tools, such as slide creation, text formatting, adding visuals, and managing slideshow and animations.

When creating slides, use consistent themes, fonts, and colours for a polished and professional look. Practice beforehand how to navigate through slides smoothly during the actual presentation.

3. Practice Breathing Techniques

Nervousness and fear are the biggest problems during presentations. To combat these instincts, practise deep breathing exercises and always stay calm.

Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth.

Integrate intentional pauses in your presentation to take deep breaths and compose yourself. Use controlled breathing to maintain a calm demeanour, even during challenging moments and regularly practice these techniques to build a habit of managing stress.

Conclusion

You understand now that presentation skills are not just about making PowerPoint slides and reading them out.

To improve your presentation, you need to focus on engaging with your audience, conveying your message effectively, and delivering your content with confidence and clarity.

They’re about confidently sharing ideas, captivating stories, and embracing styles that resonate with your audience.

In this blog, we have explored several skills and techniques to improve presentation skills and styles commonly used by most presenters.

All that is left to do is for you to embark on your journey of growth and development.

Begin with the small tips and actionable steps suggested in this article, implement them in your regular presentations and observe the impact they bring.

If you feel a sense of growth and confidence in yourself, opt for professional training to master the skill.

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By Ashish Agarwal

Ashish is a content writer at Kapable. A dynamic lawyer, experienced educator and content writer, he blends his legal expertise with a flair for storytelling. He has a passion for writing compelling articles and strives to simplify complex concepts, making them accessible to diverse audiences. He is dedicated to writing on contemporary topics and topics related to soft skills development. His articles showcase a deep understanding of the topic and reflect his commitment to fostering intellectual curiosity.

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