HOW TO: Perfect your presentations

The other day I happened to be invited for workshop by one of my superiors. I was called as a “last minute by the way you are also meant to attend this one,” and I hurriedly picked my stuff and made it to the lift in time. The workshop was interesting and I got to learn a lot of operational stuff that I had no clue about, yes I stayed awake and it paid off.

While at the workshop, the two day session entailed a part of working in groups and thereafter the group makes a presentation. The minute our group had finished discussing key points, we then started volunteering each other as to who was to present, nobody wanted to. I decided to volunteer, not because:

  • I wanted to be up there talking to Doctors and program managers who made up the audience, or
  • Because I knew much of what I was presenting, or
  • Because I liked presentations (on the contrary I dreaded them my days in University!)

I did it because I felt it would have a positive impact showing how willing I am to take one for the team. We prepared about three slides so there was more of explaining than looking at the slides, which made me a bit nervous to the point where my mind blacked out and I didn’t hear any words leaving my mouth for almost a full minute, at which point I thought maybe I was in space.

It was that bad, the loudest silence I had ever heard. It was an ok presentation but I realized that I actually enjoyed being up there with all eyes on me, once the intimidation had subsided and I decided not to care about what people were thinking about me. It can get stressfully hot up there too, especially when everyone’s eyes are on you. Bless me for feeling confident in my stylish outfit for the day because I doubt I could have managed if I hadn’t felt good about myself at that precise time. I felt nervous the full way through, but you know what, I kinda liked the whole experience. It made me realize that I needed to find out how to improve my presentations.

Here are some pointers:

  • CHAT: think of it as a conversation that you are having but with an audience in front of you. You don’t have to be extremely formal when you’re chatting, but you can throw in a few big words here and there as is the case in reality.
  • STORY: its important to have a story line which will make your presentation flow, this means refrain from jumping all around your explanations make sure its smooth in a sensible way. If you have a real life application, video, cartoon, song, folk tale, throw that in, because it makes it makes your presentation more memorable.
  • PRACTICE: the more you practice presenting in front of the mirror, your family, your house help, your pet, the more prepared you will be.

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