Stand out - Get ahead
It can be a nerve-wracking but exhilarating experience to stand in front of a large audience and present at a conference. Presenting in front of an audience is an amazing way to get your message out to a lot of people. But how can you make sure that your presentation runs without a hitch? How can you look like a public speaking pro? Read this article to learn how to be a star on stage at your next conference!
The key to having a great presentation and looking like a star on stage is great content. Without a great presentation, it’s going to be difficult to impress your audience and keep them engaged. When you start preparing your presentation, make sure that you research the area you are planning to talk about in great detail. Think about taking a unique approach to a topic or that your audience will really find interesting.
Whilst content is important, there are a number of other elements that are needed in order to create a great presentation. If you are presenting something on a screen ensure that it is of high quality in terms of design, spelling, and grammar. You want to look like a pro, not an amateur.
For your conference presentation to make an impact make sure that your audience is engaged from the start. You can help improve engagement by actively including your audience. Do this with interactive presentations, for example. Add some fun quiz questions or ask your audience their opinion on something. You can also include your audience by asking them to raise their hands on a question or topic or clap or cheer at certain times. Whatever you do, make sure that involving your audience is light-hearted and fun where appropriate. Test out these icebreaker templates to get your audience energized!
No one enjoys sitting in an audience when the presenter reads off their slides. It makes you look ill-prepared and definitely not a star! Here’s a two-pronged approach you can take to avoid this. First, don’t cram information onto your slides, instead, add information sparingly and use images to enhance what you are talking about. This will remove the temptation of reading from your slides and also create a better experience for those listening. Secondly, spend time practicing your presentation. The more comfortable you feel with the content, the less likely you will need to read from the slides. Of course, you can have some presentation notes on hand to help you out with any tricky parts or if you get stuck.
Where appropriate, your presentation should be entertaining. Don’t be afraid to add some light humor to help your audience relax and to break the ice a little bit. Avoid making jokes about sensitive topical issues or something that is likely to cause offense.
We mentioned earlier that practice is essential to make sure that you look like a star on stage. It’s so important that we will mention it again! Practicing in front of a mirror or with some colleagues will help you assess your performance.
It’s great if you can get others to give you feedback on your presentation before the event, but it can also be really useful to record yourself. If you record yourself and watch back, you can assess the body language you are using, address your speaking pace and presentation performance in general. After watching how you perform, you should create some specific things you want to remember to do or improve on before the big event! An extra pro tip is to record your live performance and watch it back afterward to see how you performed.
You can also use Mentimeter to gather feedback from the audience at the end of your presentation. Try out this Mentimeter template that you can use at the end of your presentation to collect feedback that will help you to improve in the future.
Again, practice is important. If possible, you should practice your presentation on the stage that you will be speaking on. This help calms any nerves, as you will be more familiar with the environment, and it will also give you a chance to see how you can use movement on the stage to engage your audience.
If you are using any technical equipment during your presentation, check to see if and how it works before you present. Some things to check could include the internet connection, microphones, projectors or screens, the computer you are using to run your presentation on and any clickers or remotes you need. When you’re live on stage you need to focus on your audience and the content of your presentation, not worry about technical equipment.
Sometimes things can go wrong. For example, there may be an unexpected technical problem on the day which means you can't display your presentation on the screen, or maybe you find that your audience isn’t engaging with your content. Think about the things that could go wrong and prepare a backup plan. As the saying goes: “prepare for the worst and hope for the best”.
Last, but not least - enjoy yourself! Presenting on stage is a unique experience where you can connect to larges audiences. When you are onstage - be in the moment, smile and have fun! You will be a total star! Good luck!