11 Tips for Improving Your Presentation Skills (& Free Training)

11 Tips for Improving Your Presentation Skills (& Free Training)
Heleana Tiburca

Written by:
Heleana Tiburca

Jul 25, 2021

Are you looking for ways to completely level up your presentation skills? We’ve rounded up a list of the 10 best tips to help you deliver and create an effective presentation.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the tips you’ll find inside:

  • Create an audience journey roadmap
  • Use proper and confident body language
  • Meet your audience before presenting to better connect with them
  • Focus on your presentation design to engage your audience

... and a whole lot more!

So, if you want to take your presentation skills to the next level, then this list will show you exactly how to do so.

Let’s get into it.

 

Table of Contents

Tip #1: Define the purpose of your presentation.

Tip #2: Create an audience journey map.

Tip #3: Keep your slides short and sweet.

Tip #4: Focus on your presentation design.

Tip #5: Visualize boring numbers and data.

Tip #6: Practice in front of a live audience.

Tip #7: Meet your audience before presenting.

Tip #8: Channel nervous energy into enthusiastic energy.

Tip #9: Use proper and confident body language.

Tip #10: Allow your personality to shine through.

Tip #11: Take courses to improve your presentation skills.

Free Presentation Skills Training

 

Tip #1: Define the purpose of your presentation.

Behind every successful presentation, there was carefully crafted planning that went into it beforehand. To ensure that you’ll have a powerful presentation, you need to consider your message.

The very first step to any good presentation is to define its purpose. This goes on in the very beginning during the planning process where you consider your message.

Your presentation’s end goal can be any of the following:

  • To inform
  • To entertain
  • To inspire
  • To persuade

Your presentation’s end goal might even be a combination of the four purposes above. Consider the fact that you may need to inform buyers of your product and what problem it solves for them, but you also need to persuade them into buying it.

This is where engaging storytelling and proper visual aids will come into play to help you achieve your goal, and will either make or break your presentation.

Once you pinpoint the purpose of your presentation, you can then begin to work on the subject matter and your audience journey map.

 

Tip #2: Create an audience journey map.

An audience journey map is a visual representation of all the steps you need to take your audience members through, from first to last and everything in between, to achieve the goal of your presentation.

There are a few steps to creating your audience journey map.

Create your own audience journey map in Visme!Try It For Free

First, you need to start your explanation at a low point — the current state of an issue. Maybe there’s a problem that you are able to solve. Describe the current situation before you lay out the undertaking ahead.

Once you lay out the problem, you can then start showing your audience the process of solving this problem. To not overwhelm your crowd, give them an actionable roadmap to follow.

With great verbal communication skills, you can tell them how you plan to take the first step.

This is many times the hardest part of the presentation, but once you have the foundation for your first step, you can easily lay out the next stepping stones and take them to your end goal with ease.

Creating an audience journey map will be a major success factor in a compelling presentation and needs to be done before writing and creating your slides.

Having a clear audience journey map will also help ensure you take your audience on a smooth journey with all your main points in line and achieve your end goal with no bumps in the road.

 

Tip #3: Keep your slides short and sweet.

When giving a presentation, make sure that you keep it short, sweet and as informationally-condensed as possible. All of your slides should be easy to digest and understandable at a glance.

Let's take a look at an example. The slide below is part of Visme's simple presentation theme, which is designed to have maximum impact with minimal text.

You can customize this slide and others like it in Visme's presentation software. Or, you can apply the same concept of minimalism to any other presentation tool, such as PowerPoint.

To make sure that you stay on topic and won’t overwhelm your crowd with too much information, you need to have a plan. When you have a solid plan to go by, you won’t go off track and begin rambling about things unrelated to your presentation.

Another practical way you can stay on topic and not overwhelm your audience with too much information is to have your main points written in bold somewhere on your slides.

Here's another example of a Visme slide template that does that well:

As you can see above, you don’t need to write out all the information surrounding the main points, as this will cause your audience too much confusion.

An experienced presenter will be able to quickly glance over at their own presentation slides, see the main points and continue on with their presentation, engaging their audience without going off course.

This, of course, comes with a lot of rehearsing out loud, which we will cover more in tip number six.

Another great way to keep your presentation short is to set a specific time for asking questions.

By reserving a few minutes during your presentation for your audience to ask questions, you can present your main points and achieve your goals, without going into too much detail.

Your audience can then ask for clarity on anything that interests them and you can answer their questions in however much detail you need.

 

Tip #4: Focus on your presentation design.

Picture this: you’re gathered around the conference table with all your colleagues early Monday morning and your manager pulls up a lifeless, colorless, text-filled Microsoft PowerPoint presentation.

You’re trying your best to pay attention and understand what he’s trying to convey, but staring deep into your coffee cup seems much more interesting at this point.

Sound familiar?

This is why it’s so crucial to understand how your presentation design will affect the outcome.

By having a messy and overloaded presentation, you’ll lose your audience almost immediately. On the flip side, if it’s so mundane and boring, you will also lose their attention.

One design presentation tip that we suggest you implement is to make sure you don’t overcrowd your slides with too much text.

This is a risky thing to do because the moment you flip to the next slide, your audience’s attention goes from what you’re saying, to your slide.

They’ll begin to read everything presented on the slide and completely tune you out. This is why a minimal text approach with a maximum of 2-3 different yet complementary fonts on your slides will be ideal, like in the example below.

You can use visual aids like images, animated graphic design elements, videos and more to convey the same message that boring text would.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea to design a presentation from scratch, and that’s why it can be incredibly helpful to use a tool that offers presentation templates to help you get started.

Visme has hundreds of handcrafted presentation templates for public speakers to use for any occasion. Each presentation template is fully customizable and you’ll be able to add your branded content to your slides to make it your own.

Pro-tip: Use Visme's presentation software to add unique slide transitions to make your presentation go smoother, insert custom animations to keep your audience engaged, and create quizzes and polls to make things more interactive.

 

Tip #5: Visualize boring numbers and data.

Presenting your data can be an incredibly tricky and difficult task.

Instead of adding a bunch of tables and numbers to your slides, try switching things up by using charts, graphs and other data visualization types.

When creating a chart for your presentation, you need to be mindful of several things.

First, you need to choose the right chart to begin with. Not every type of graph is suitable for all data sets. The chart you choose will depend on the nature of your data and your unique purpose of using that chart.

Here's an infographic to help you understand what type of chart to use depending on your unique needs and nature of data.

For example, if you're drawing a comparison between two or more items, a bar graph might be suitable. But if you're breaking down composition, a pie chart might be a better idea.

Also, make sure that you can fit all of your information into a chart without overcrowding the visual and also have your audience understand that information at a glance, like in the example below.

Other data visualization tips to keep in mind include choosing a pleasant, cohesive color scheme, sticking to max 2-3 fonts, incorporating a legend, and keeping your data as simple as possible.

Learn more about data visualization best practices to help you create engaging charts for your presentations and reports.

Pro-tip: Save time and use Visme's graph maker to get access to hundreds of chart templates. Each template is fully customizable and designed by professionals to keep your audience engaged.

If you're using Visme, you can also import your data directly from Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, Survey Monkey, Google Analytics and more.

 

Tip #6: Practice in front of a live audience.

Practice, practice and practice again.

Some would argue that writing up and designing a presentation from scratch is the easiest part. Delivering the presentation in a way that it engages your audience — that's the tricky part.

When it comes to public speaking, it’s only natural that one would get a little nervous and stumble upon their words.

That’s why practicing your public speaking skills in front of others will be vital to how well you present and connect with your crowd during your actual presentation.

It’s one thing to practice in front of the mirror, but it’s something completely different when people are waiting for you to deliver information that will improve their business or life.

So gather up some friends, family members or even your pets, and present your presentation from start to finish as many times as you need.

By presenting your slides out loud, you might even catch some mistakes in your presentation or find you need to add in some missing information.

 

Tip #7: Meet your audience before presenting.

By shaking your attendee’s hand before a meeting, you’ll begin to make connections and become more approachable and likable by your audience.

Meeting your audience will help break the ice and make them more likely to listen to what you have to say. They will also feel more comfortable asking you questions later, which will increase the value they get out of your presentation.

Plus, you’ll also feel more relaxed speaking to your audience if you've met them already. When you can put a name to a face, you’ll automatically feel a sense of comfort when you make eye contact with them while presenting.

 

Tip #8: Channel nervous energy into enthusiastic energy.

Even the most famous movie stars and popular public speakers will still get nervous before a public presentation.

It’s human nature to get butterflies and perspire a bit before having tons of eyes on you, critiquing every word you have to say.

So, if you’re feeling nervous before a presentation, instead of emotionally shutting down, take that nervous energy and transform it into enthusiastic energy.

Before getting up on stage, listen to your favorite hype music, maybe have a coffee (if it won’t make you jittery) or get a pep talk from a friend.

By being confident and using your enthusiasm to your advantage, you’ll have your crowd on the edge of their seats, completely engaged, following every word you say.

Enthusiastic presentations will much better received by listeners, rather than monotone informational presentations. So, as important as your presentation design is, the way you present it will determine a big part of the outcome.

create a stunning presentation with visme

 

Tip #9: Use proper and confident body language.

According to Allan Pease, an Honorary Professor of Psychology at ULIM International University, you can convince almost anyone to do anything for you if you use proper body language.

He has an entire Ted Talk dedicated to the subject, which you can watch below.

 

The proper use of hand gestures, a power stance, a confident smile and an authoritative yet kind voice are all techniques that you can leverage to get your crowd listening to and agreeing with what you’re saying.

According to Allan Pease, when using hand gestures, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using open palm gestures. This makes you look like a great leader that is right there with the team, ready to lead and take charge.

By using open palm gestures, people will automatically be inclined to listen to you.

The moment you turn your hand over and start using your pointer finger, you will lose your audience. They won’t accept any information from you and they will believe you have an authoritative and hostile attitude.

Body language is everything, so make sure to use open hand gestures, smile, take a deep breath and believe that you’re not nervous, even if you are.

As soon as you believe that you’re not nervous, your brain and body will follow suit and you’ll feel more confident on stage with your presentation, which will make your audience trust you more.

 

Tip #10: Allow your personality to shine through.

We’re convinced that with the right tone of voice and allowing your personality to shine through, you can take any boring presentation, and turn it into an entertaining and engaging one for your audience.

While it is good to meet your audience where they are, it’s never good to fake your personality for the sake of a presentation.

Everyone can tell when someone isn’t genuine, and if you’re trying to suppress your personality, you’re only hurting yourself and your presentation by doing so, as what you’re saying can then begin to sound disingenuous.

So, don’t be afraid to use your personality to your advantage. Let a joke out and entertain your audience. By making your audience laugh, you’ll have them more in tune with what you’re saying.

Chances are if you’re giving a business presentation, many of your peers will be there and they'd want you to let your personality show. So, be yourself and use that to your advantage!

 

Tip #11: Take courses to improve your presentation skills.

Finally, our best tip that we can offer you in all areas of life is to never stop learning.

The only way to improve is to continue learning and practicing. That’s why we recommend you take presentation courses that will help improve your communication skills and presentation skills.

You can brush up on your presentation, communication and public speaking tips by taking online courses on Udemy or Coursera. Look for specific courses on storytelling, body language and more to focus on your problem areas.

Or, if you're looking for a free course that packs all the good stuff at zero cost, our team at Visme has put together an incredible presentation course that will help you smash your next presentation!

 

Free Presentation Skills Training

When it comes to creating and giving presentations, many times it seems like it’s just something that’s expected of us to do, without receiving any type of proper training or qualifications.

Here at Visme, we want to see everyone succeed.

That’s why we combined our years of knowledge and experience to create a free course to give everyone the tools and confidence they need in order to create effective and successful presentations.

graphic design courses - visme's presentation course
Become a certified presentation guru!Take the Course

There are dozens of benefits and skills you’ll gain in these training sessions. You'll learn how to:

  • Effectively brainstorm and create audience personas and audience journey maps
  • Use visual communication to inform, engage, inspire and persuade your audience
  • Design your presentation as a professional designer would in minutes
  • Use colors, fonts, pictures and videos to increase the impact of your speech
  • Present your data through compelling charts and graphs that tell a story

You’ll also receive a Visme Versity certificate of completion once you complete the online course — you can add this to your LinkedIn profile to set yourself up for success.

If any of these benefits sound like something you want to add to your tool belt, then you can take our free presentation skills course for professional development right now.

This course is broken down into easily digestible sections, yet it’s jam-packed full of readily applicable information. The best part is you can take the course and complete it at your own pace.

There are engaging educational videos for you to watch and learn from, informational content for you to read and at the end of each session, there is a quiz for you to take to assess your progress.

By the end of this course, you’ll have an abundance of skills that will help you succeed in all types of presentations.

Sign up today and learn how to become a great presenter in no time!

 

Level Up Your Presentation Skills

You’ve now learned 11 amazing tips on how to improve your presentation skills, but there’s still so much more to uncover and learn in the realm of presentations skills.

If you want to overcome your fear of public speaking, improve on your business presentations, become a better communicator and transform good presentations into great presentations, then this free presentation course by Visme is for you.

Want to create stunning presentations of your own? Sign up for our presentation software and start using hundreds of pre-made slides, animated effects, free graphics, charts and more.

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    About the Author

    I’m Heleana and I’m a content creator here at Visme. My passion is to help people find the information they’re looking for in the most fun and enjoyable way possible. Let’s make information beautiful.

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