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8 Tips to master presentation skills for students and working professionals

Presentations play a big role in education and business. It is a skill you will be using throughout your life at various stages. Creating effective presentations that showcase your thoughts and insights to the target audience can be challenging. But with the right presentation skills, you can overcome this and succeed.   

Whether you are a student at a university or school presenting your research project or a working professional who is pitching a new product, learning and mastering good presentation skills can help you take your career to the next level. English Path understands your needs. That’s why we’ve devised 8 tips and tricks to help you refine your presentation skills so that you can confidently inform, persuade, and inspire your audience! 

1. Find our everything you can about your topic and your audience

A lot of things can go wrong if you are lacking high-quality material and a clear understanding of your audience. So, before opening your laptop to create the first draft of your presentation, take time to research the topic you’ll be presenting on and understand the needs, as well as interests of the audience you’ll be presenting to. Tailor your content so that your audience can connect with it. It’ll also help you to engage with them during the presentation and make it even more interesting. Find out more about the people who will be present, their knowledge levels, and what their interests are so that you can address those specific needs and keep your audience engaged. 

2. Structure your content with clear and concise messages

What do you want to achieve with your presentation? What is it about? Is it a research project at school, a monthly report to your manager or a strategic plan for the next quarter for your board of directors? Have a goal in mind and plan your content around it. A good presentation should be able to convey the key messages with a quick glance. Structure it in a way that is clear and easily understood, where everything connects smoothly. Avoid adding any unnecessary information. It could take your audience away from the main topic and cause confusion. 

3. Add compelling and visually appealing elements to your slides

A picture is worth a thousand words and has the power to tell a complex story in a more accessible way. You should always be thinking of ways to add attractive, catchy and topic-related visuals as well as text elements to your presentation. But remember not to overdo either of them. Visual elements should complement your words on the slide and you are saying during the presentation. It's always important to find the right balance. 

4. Keep practising until you've memorised the whole presentation

To become a master of anything, you need to improve your english vocabulary. Remember to rehearse everything thoroughly before giving the presentation. Keep practising your presentation aloud with the slides and without the slides. If possible, rehearse in front of a trusted friend or colleague who can give you possible notes for improvement. You should also time yourself to make sure you can complete your presentation within the allotted time. You don't want to be cut short while you still have more key points to mention. The more you practise, the more natural and polished your presentation will be. 

5. Include your audience in your presentation

Your audience should feel like they are a part of your presentation. Add elements in your presentation where you have multiple opportunities to interact with them. Share funny but relevant anecdotes, create a poll around your topic, plan activities they can participate in, ask engaging questions, and give your audience an opportunity to do the same with a Q&A session at the end. Try to create an interactive environment where your audience wants to hear more and is not looking at the clock to check if it's time to go. 

6. Master non-verbal communication

Presentations have three elements: slides on the screen, the person who is giving the presentation and the audience. The way you move on the stage, your gestures, and even your facial expressions are all key presentation skills that you must master. These non-verbal elements of communication say a lot more about you than you might think. Maintain good posture, make eye contact with various audience members and practise using hand gestures to emphasise your key points. By mastering and training yourself in these forms of communication, you can deliver your presentation with confidence and enthusiasm. 

7. Use the age-old tool of storytelling to convey your message

For as long as there have been humans on this earth, there have been stories because we, as human beings, connect with stories. Create and arrange your slides in a way that tells a story and creates an emotional bond with the audience. Let's look at an example. If your presentation is about a product launch, show the audience how the product can solve their problems rather than listing product features. To engage and connect with the audience, you can use jokes, exciting case studies or even your personal experiences. 

8. Review your performance after the presentation

A presentation does not end when you get down from the stage. A good presenter knows that the real work starts later. After delivering your presentation, join your audience to see if they have any further questions for you. Remember, presentation skills are not something that can be mastered overnight. They demand your time, dedication and passion. You must continue to learn and practise continuously to improve.  

You can get help from experienced EP teachers to master a variety of presentation skills. Our Business English course is designed for modern professionals who want to develop their English and business language skills. Through the course, you will learn to make convincing presentations, write coherent e-mails and share valuable contributions in meetings and discussions! 

Frequently asked questions about presentation skills

Q1. How can I overcome my stage fright?

A1. You can overcome the fear of public speaking by practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises to calm your mind and help to keep you focussed.   

Q2. What are some common presentation errors to avoid?

A2. Remember to avoid adding too many visual or text elements to your slides, fiddling with your hands, speaking too loudly and reading directly from your slides. 

Q3. How long does it take to develop presentation skills?

A3. It depends on how much time you spend on improving your presentation skills. If you practise regularly, you can master them in a short amount of time with the right guidance. 

Q4. How can I speak professionally?

A4. You can communicate professionally by learning how to speak slowly and by using appropriate vocabulary, pronouncing words clearly and limiting your use of filler words. 

Q5. How can I improve my presentation skills?

A5. You can improve presentation skills with proper guidance from EP teachers. Our Business English course can help you develop and master various business skills like how to write work emails, give valuable inputs during meetings, learn negotiation skills, lead discussions and yes, improve your presentation skills