7 Ways to Improve Presentation Skills

7 Ways to Improve Presentation Skills

Whether you’re preparing to present a project in front of a small class, or getting ready for the biggest presentation of your life, it always seems to be just as nerve-wracking!

This could be your opportunity to land a new job, earn money from potential investors, or even just increase your grade in a class. 

I have put together some of the most fool-proof and easy ways to improve presentation skills.

After reading this guide, you will be equipped with the knowledge to deliver an effective presentation that will shock your audience every single time! 

So, let’s dive right in!

1: Determining Your Audience

An effective presentation cannot be delivered without doing some research beforehand. Determining what type of audience you have will dramatically enhance your presentation as you can cater it specifically towards them.

Many people tend to skip out on this step and think it is okay to jump right into their powerpoint or slide deck without knowing how they should actually structure their message.

These are some questions you should ask yourself and make a note of:

  • Who is your audience? 
  • What are they searching for? 
  • Why are you presenting?

After determining these answers, you are now set up to create a presentation directly targeting their interests and desires.

This also helps when you are trying to figure out what exactly you should say in the presentation. Knowing your audience allows you to better connect with them and increase their satisfaction. 

Ways to Improve Presentation Skills - Knowing Your Audience

2: Formulating An Effective Solution

So, you know your audience and what they’re expecting to see from you. Now, it’s time to formulate a solution. Every presentation has one main goal in mind… to solve a problem.

This could be anything from a new venture that targets a problem in the market or a strategy to deal with an internal organizational problem.

Whatever it is that you are solving, you want to make your solution as clear and concise as possible, while also covering all of the major points that are required. 

Why is this important?

Well, creating a solution that effectively solves the issue at hand will automatically boost your confidence when delivering the presentation.

Maintaining a high level of confidence can directly impact the way your message comes across (sometimes it can make or break your presentation). Just think about it for a second!

When you are super confident about what it is you’re saying, the delivery of your presentation will convince or persuade the audience with more impact than if you get up there all nervous and hesitant.

Your effective solution will also help you remain calm and collected throughout the question and answer period, further convincing the audience that your message is strong and compelling.

3: Structuring Your Presentation

This is a short but crucial component of your presentation. I know I’ve mostly talked about planning and research so far, but I promise that doing so will drastically improve your presentation skills.

Structuring your actual presentation slides before creating them will help lay out the foundation, making it easier in the long run.

All you really should focus on here is determining roughly how many slides you’ll have, the number of different headings, and a few bullet points for each slide. You can even grab a few images and have them ready to go. 

4: Creating Your Presentation

Congratulations! At this point, you have pretty much done all of the complicated and boring work. Now it’s time for you to unleash your creativity and personality.

Start your presentation by finding a theme that best suits your audience (now do you see why step one was important). Your theme could be from a template found online, or simply by using a common colour scheme. 

For business style presentations, I recommended you stick with monotone type colours like black and white.

You are obviously more than welcome to use other colours, but try to limit this as much as you can because it will draw attention away from you, the speaker!

When you finish choosing a theme, you can now make the heading and title slides that will organize your presentation.

For presentations that are longer than five minutes, I suggest you include an agenda following your title slide. This will let your audience know exactly what to expect throughout, and give them a chance to formulate any questions on topics you won’t be covering, 

The next part is where you really get creative. Use all of the research you have conducted to create the rest of your slide deck. A few key components you should keep in mind are:

  • Use a variety of captivating visuals (graphs, charts, maps, etc.)
  • Keep it simple (your slides should only be a reference for what you are talking about)
  • Consistency is key (use the same fonts, size, and colours throughout)
  • 6×6 Rule (keep the words to a minimum, only 6 bullet points with 6 words in each max.)

Although there are probably hundreds of different opinions on how your slide deck should look, the above tips are the most common ones.

Following all of these will at least ensure that your slides are enhancing your presentation and not degrading it.

5: Practicing Your Delivery

Notice how I did NOT say practicing your presentation here? 

Your actual presentation is not the slide deck that you have created, it’s YOU!

If you want to improve your presentation skills, one of the easiest things you can do is avoid making your slideshow the highlight and instead turn that focus on yourself.

After all, there are so many great slide decks out there, but there are not so many great speakers!

Your delivery is the most critical skill you can develop for effective presentations. Unsure of what a great delivery actually looks like?

Watch some videos on YouTube of presentations by CEO’s of your Fortune 500 type companies. You can even learn from shows like Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank if your presentation is more of an idea pitch.

In essence, all I’m saying is to simply deconstruct what some of those great speakers do and work on developing those skills yourself. This will only come with practice, practice, practice!

By the time your presentation rolls around, you should be confident enough to rehearse the entire script without needing your slide show as a reference.

If you can do this, you know that you are well prepared and ready for the big day!

Ways to Improve Presentation Skills - Drinking Water and Practice

6: Presentation Day

It’s finally here! Some of you might be sweating buckets because your stressed and anxious, and others will be hyped up for the presentation.

Regardless of how you are feeling, there are a few things you can do on presentation day to ensure everything goes as planned. 

The first one is simple, but practice what you are going to say once more! You can never over practice so don’t think it’s bad to run through your lines again. 

Next, you should be staying hydrated with lots and lots of water (just make sure you go pee before).

Water will help your body stay calm and cool down if you start getting nervous. It is also just something you should be drinking all the time. 

Breathe! Take as many deep breaths as you can, inhaling for about four seconds and then pausing for a short second before letting out a long, slow exhale.

Always make sure you are breathing so your muscles and brain can relax, and get the oxygen they need. 

This last one might sound stupid but it works for me… talk to yourself! Believe it or not, self-talk can actually calm down your nerves a lot more than you think.

Tell yourself that you are going to do amazing and imagine yourself in a situation afterward where everything went smoothly.

Continue doing this until you believe fully believe in yourself!

7: Feedback

Wow! You just delivered the best presentation of your life. Hopefully, you are very proud of yourself by this moment. However, you are not quite finished yet.

Many people skip this stage, but it can drastically improve your presentation skills if you always follow it.

Ask for feedback! This is your chance to ask your audience what they thought of your presentation.

Be prepared to accept positive comments, but also some critical ones as well. In all honesty, the critical feedback is usually what will help you ACTUALLY improve for the future.

Positive comments are nice to hear, but they are basically just reassurance for yourself. 

Use the feedback given to you for future presentations. The only way you are going to improve is by recording down what you are told and incorporating it into your next presentation.

If you make it a habit to always do this, I guarantee that you’ll be well on your way to becoming a highly skilled presenter.

Although I have only covered seven ways to improve, there are hundreds of others out there as well.

These are just some of the easiest ways that anyone can use to quickly improve their skills. 

If you have any suggestions or tips that I didn’t cover, feel free to leave them in the comment section below for others to learn and grow.

And remember, you are going to kill every presentation you do from now on!

18 Replies to “7 Ways to Improve Presentation Skills

  1. Hello, I really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. This brings back memories of my preparations some time ago for a seminar. One thing I missed was determining the audience as I met a crowd I didn’t prepare for. Your 7 steps are awesome and will be so helpful for future presentations!

  2. I found your post very interesting and timely as I had to give my first power point presentation at my Toastmasters group just three weeks ago. It was sort of a disaster as far as the slides as I really had no idea what I was doing as I had never used power point before.

    Some of the images were cut off and I wasn’t able to figure out how to do the bullet points. Anyway, your post has helped me understand the process a bit better.

    Also, every speech we give in Toastmasters is evaluated so I did manage to get a lot of helpful tips on how to get power point to work a bit smoother for me next time.

    I don’t have problems with the speaking part and knowing my subject. It’s the technical side of power point that I have to work on.

    1. Hello Ray! Sorry that your presentation didn’t go as well as you’d like, but you ca definitely improve for next time. Hopefully these tips will help you create your slides and better understand how to design the layout of them as well!

  3. Hey! Thank you for writing and sharing these useful 7 Ways to Improve Presentation Skills. I enjoy reading your articles and learn a lot. From your article, now I am able to create my own presentations and deliver them full of energy. If a person follows all the steps described by you, they will 100% get better results like me. You are doing awesome work. Thank you!

  4. Thanks very much for this great and helpful article and I have enjoyed it from start to end. Since I have a presentation on campus soon, I have got to know and put into practice some of the ways you have mentioned, which I didn’t think of at all. I think I will also be great presenter soon. Thanks in advance!

  5. This is all great information. I was in sales several years ago and used to do lots of presentations during business meetings and wish I had this post back then. It’s a great step by step to prepare for a presentation, or ‘delivery’ as you so rightly pointed out. It’s all about ‘You’ and not the slides. Public speaking is one of most people’s most feared activities, and following your steps will certainly help relieve that anxiety people have. Great post!

    1. Hello Greg! I have to agree with you that public speaking can be an extremely difficult and nerve-wracking experience for many people. I hope you are correct in that my post will relieve some of the anxiety from these people. Perhaps you might be interested in reading my other article on relieving stress, it provides some great tips that should also be kept in mind for presentations 🙂

  6. Wow, that was an excellent article! I actually have to give a speech soon and all these tips will definitely help me succeed. 

    After reading your article, now I feel a little bit more confident. Thank you for taking your time writing this. You helped me and I’m sure you will help other people.

  7. Your article came to me at a great time. I am in the middle of researching how best to give presentations. I am in the process of registering a few vendor presentation shows in my niche. I have never done a presentation for a group before so I was looking for ways to approach it. Your 7 ways to improve presentations are a great blueprint that I can follow going forward.

  8. Hi, this is a fantastic guide and very easy to read. I love your writing style! I hate presentations and experience stage fright every time, so I tend to try and push them onto someone else, but I am definitely keen to try your steps for my next team meeting. Especially the reminder to breathe 😊

  9. Although I am not a student in any college literally I got helpful insights from your article that I am unaware of. Till our last breath, we all learn a lot of things in this world which is the biggest university and we all are students in this university.

    I preach the gospel and I do part-time ministry. So these informative tips on improving the presentation skills is very helpful in my preachings. Going forward I will implement what I learned from your article.

    I need to practice my delivery. Practice not only makes perfect, but the practice also makes permanent. I need to ask for feedback and I am missing it. I loved the content and the manner you presented it.

    1. Hi Paul! I’m so glad that this article could introduce you to different techniques you can use to enhance the delivery of your preachings 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to comment so candidly, it’s appreciated! 

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