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Good appearance: advice for the hesitant

The young man makes his presentation to his colleagues at the big board

Remembering these 9 steps will make you feel more confident during public speaking!

Step 1

First of all: giving a speech is not the same as being called by a teacher to answer questions, and the presentation should not be used as a cheat! It ought to be only an addition to your speech and its purpose is to illustrate content that is hard to describe in words.

If you have a problem with the right choice of words, don’t be afraid to use a very strong and effective tool, which is a metaphor. A well-chosen metaphor will make your audience build mental images that shape emotions and memories and it can also open many "flips" in the minds of your listeners.

Below you will find some useful tools that can enrich the content of your presentation and certainly catch the listeners’ attention:

  • Canva - a very simple graphics editor and at the same time an ideal solution for someone who has a sense of aesthetic but doesn’t know too much about graphic programs. The editor works very intuitively and no programming skills are necessary to use it.
  • Gratisography, Unsplash - both sites offer beautiful photos, under a Creative Commons Zero license, so they can be freely published, retouched and shared.
  • Typeform - a solution that helps to create unique and artistic surveys.

Step 2

Do not rush! Remember that you have as much time as you need to make your presentation. Speaking too quickly gives the impression that the speaker wants to run away from the stage or is not sure of the transmitted content.

Our recommendation is for you to take a look at the Mateusz Grzesiak’s channel, where you will find a short video explaining what a perfect presentation should look like.

Step 3

You’ve created a great presentation; now you check it for the last time and you start thinking: “Isn’t it too much? Is my message clear and understandable? Won’t my listeners find it boring?

We have a great solution for you: www.jasnopis.pl. It is a tool that can measure the intelligibility of a text, indicate its more difficult or incomprehensible fragments and propose corrections.

Step 4

The best presentation is one that includes a maximum content with a minimum of words. Use visual aids such as tables, charts and videos to make your presentation more attractive. Remember, one image is worth a thousand words!

PowerPoint is the best-known (and well-worn) presentation creation tool. Fortunately, there are several other interesting offers on the market:

  • Prezi - a tool built on the principle of a "mind map", which can be supplemented with films, content and graphics like neurons in the brain. Do you want your presentation to be creative and innovative? Prezi is your choice.
  • Slides - has very interesting animations of transitions between slides, beautiful color palettes and it gives the speaker the possibility to manage the presentation from a selected device with a touch screen.
  • PowToon - thanks to this application you can easily create simple animated movies following the pattern of standard presentations.

Step 5

Most of us absorb information much better when it is explained with examples. Try to make sure that your presentation includes interesting and important case study examples. Finding the right example is not always easy, but they will help you grab the listeners’ attention.

You don't have to search for examples in libraries or archives. A team brainstorming session is often more than enough. The experience of your fellow team members can prove extremely valuable as examples for your presentation.   

Step 6

Make a presentation standing up. You are supposed to be an expert in your field, not a teacher hidden behind the desktop.

If you are not comfortable standing face to face with the audience, we suggest you familiarize yourself with the presentation by Amy Cudy, which explains how body position and speech can improve confidence.

Step 7

Your statements should be short and specific. Try to eliminate fillers like "yyyyy", "eeee", "I mean". Thanks to this, you will not only be perceived as more confident, but also as more professional.

We suggest you apply the presentation technique mentioned by Carmine Gallo in his book "Talk Like Ted." The author uses the example of Twitter and states the following:

"If you can't pitch your idea in 140 characters, which is as much as Twitter posts can contain, work on your message. Thanks to this mental discipline, your presentation will become more transparent and the audience will remember the message you want to convey".

Step 8

In this case, less is more. The presentation is only intended to support you, so do not clog it with unnecessary text. Otherwise, it will become - instead of you - the main focus of your listeners.

For those who struggle with compressing information, we recommend the Haiku Deck application, which will allow you to limit your presentation to the necessary minimum - each slide can contain only a background image, the title and just one line of text. This arrangement teaches discipline and a careful choice of words.

Step 9

As the proverb says, “better safe than sorry”, so when going to an event, remember to:

  • get a set of adapters compatible with your laptop
  • take your laptop's AC adapter and battery pack with you
  • save your presentation in two formats (original and PDF) on an external disk or a pendrive
  • save the videos and custom fonts on an external disk too, because not all software can play them.
Remember the "Golden Nine" above – keeping these points in mind will make your presentations better and better!

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