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6 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills

6 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Implementing a few sound strategies can make your presentation process more predictable and painless, keep the audience’s attention and help ensure approval for project goals

5.Summarize an Action Plan. You came to the presentation with a specific outcome in mind. Never assume that your intended solution is obvious. To succeed, you need to spell it out with specificity at the conclusion of an effective presentation. In sales, it is called "ask for the order" or "the close".

While your presentation may not technically be a sales presentation, you want to achieve something specific. You need to put it out there at the end. Use your slides to buttress your argument and to spell it out in detail.

If it lends itself to your solution, for example, you can use the PowerPoint target diagram to dramatize your plan of action. Animate the progressive circles that represent the steps of the solution you propose, with the pay-off being the bulls-eye.

6.Learn to Close Quickly and from Any Time. How many times have you seen this scenario? A presenter is halfway through a slide deck, when he is signalled by the host that time is running out. Or the audience is restless but still seems receptive — if the speaker can only get to the point.

In a fluster, the presenter rushes through the slides, saying stuff like: "Real quickly, this slide shows . . ." In reality, all the presenter shows is panic and a lack of preparation.

The simplest solution is to know where your close begins by slide number. For example, let's say in a 60-slide presentation (God help you), you know that slide 54 begins an elegant six-slide conclusion to the key points you set up early on. At any point, you can step over to the laptop, use the keyboard to enter a "5" and "4", click Return, and you begin your elegant close.

If you're more sophisticated, you can create a Custom Show of different lengths for different situations or for just a close, and use an Action Setting in PowerPoint to launch it any time. To do so, click on Custom Shows under Slide Show on the main menu, name it (for example, "Quick Close") and choose the slides to include. The Custom Show is simply a reorganization of slides in the current presentation under a different name; it can come in handy when time is short.

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