Public speaking and presenting are skills that you develop through patience and practice. These skills will be crucial as you pursue a career in the business of art and design. Here are some basic tips for improving your presentations:
1. Connect with Your Audience
Look up from your notes and make eye contact with your audience as you speak. If direct eye contact makes you uncomfortable, you can focus on you audience members' foreheads. Make sure you look around the room and avoid engaging with only one section of the audience.
2. Edit and Simplify Your Visual Aids
Whether you're providing handouts, using a PowerPoint, or presenting a poster, always proofread your visual aids. Spelling and grammatical mistakes are unnecessary distractions from the message you're trying to convey. Keep your visual aids simple -- use images sparingly and limit your text. Your audience will remember impactful images and clear arguments over a barrage of pictures and jargon. Be sure your visual aids are legible and appropriately complement your presentation.
3. Organize Your Presentation for Clarity
Clearly state the purpose of your presentation in your introduction to establish expectations. You should re-address your purpose at the end of your presentation. This will remind your audience what "big idea(s)" they should be walking away with.
4. Breathe and Pause
Talking quickly and holding your breath is a symptom of anxiety. Remember to breathe slowly and speak clearly. It's okay to take a brief pause between sentences.
5. Thank Your Audience!
Conclude by thanking your audience for their time and attention! This will help you avoid ending your presentation with awkward expressions like, "...and that's all."
For more useful public speaking tips, check out some of the books below.
PowerPoint is probably the most commonly used visual aid for presentations but check out some of the more dynamic options below:
You have the option to display your data through infographics and visualizations to give your presentations more visual appeal. You can create simple charts and graphs through Microsoft Office.
Check out more complex and dynamic data visualization tools below: