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Presentation skills – An overview – Part I

When being asked, what is the most fearful thing that you never want to experience, nearly 40% said “speaking in front of many people”, significantly higher than death itself at 5%. You can read more about the survey here.

Presentation skills are considered one of the most important skills for a leader. To be able to convey your ideas, or to promote your company, you need to know how to engage many people at the same time, through your presentations, through your talks. That is why I spent time to research about this topic and now I decided to share with you what i learned.

For part I, let us discuss about what to do before the presentation.

Tl; dr

For a successful presentation, you need to do the following things:

  • Prepare your presentation, it needs to suit the target audience that you are going to talk to.
  • Practice your speak, keep practicing until you are absolutely confident in delivering the content.
  • Come to the venue early so you can be more familiar with the ambience.

Preparing your presentation

According to Simon Sinek and other great presenter, a great speaker always needs to plan his or her presentations to suit the target audiences. Knowing your audience is the key to deliver your message through successfully. This is one of the most important skill to master when it comes to presentation skills.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” – Sun Tzu, The art of war.

What does it mean to suit the audience? If I’m speaking to a group of students about my job as a fullstack developer, will it be different from presenting about the same topic to potential employers? The difference is obvious here, talking to students about my job is much relaxing and I can use certain jargons and jokes to make them interested about the topic; while to the employers, I need to be more professionals and discuss more about my previous employments and how can my expertise assists their companies.

Practicing your presentation

After we’re done writing our presentation slides and scripts, we need to practice presenting the content. This will build confidence within us so we can express it in front of the audience. If we don’t feel the confidence from the speakers, we have a feeling that they do not know what they are talking about.

“Confidence comes from competence.” – Dan Lok.

I would say we need to practice our speaking until we remember every slides, every contents that we intend to communicate. We should be able to speak without the need to look at the slides. That is when we are competent enough to deliver the presentation. When we practice so much that it becomes a reflex, there is no difficulty in doing the actual presentation itself.

Coming to the venue early

I’m sure that most of us feel weird, or nervous when going to an unfamiliar place, let alone having to talk at that venue. One of the ways, suggested by Mr. Dan Lok, is that we as the speakers need to arrive at the place earlier, even before the first audience comes.

“All things are ready, if our mind be so.” – William Shakespeare, Henry V.

According to Mr. Lok, a speaker needs to be ready to do the presentation when the time comes. He or she needs to be familiar with the atmosphere of the settings. Before the event, he would go up on the stage, look around and naturalize himself with the lights and the floor. Once he feels comfortable with the stage, the readiness level increases significantly. He is ready to do the presentation.

You can watch more about how Mr. Dan Lok presents in his YouTube Channel here.

Quick recap

Above are the points that I learned about presentation skills, before your presentation. All of it can be summarized in a word: PREPARATION.

Part II will discuss about what you need to do during your presentation. Stay tuned and read other blogs of mine while you wait, right here 🙂

As usual, I am open to comments and discussions. This is the place where we can openly discuss about the topic, no hard feelings.

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