I’m throwing this one out to readers to help with. A reader writes:
Do you (or the readers) have any tips for improving presentation skills? I have just started delivering presentations, and while it’s not something that comes naturally (I’m an introvert by nature, happiest buried in my own work), it’s something I’m very keen to improve, as I take on more meetings/ leadership/ public engagement. I know the subject area well and I’m passionate about it, but my presentations feel lacking somehow. I think back to excellent presentations I have seen, and I’d like to be a lot more like them — smooth, well timed, engaging.
I‘m currently browsing resources about how to create appropriate presentation materials (no tiny graphics with a lot going on, etc.), but I’d like to hear more about how to work on my own delivery of the material — I’ve read the tips about eye contact, not just reading off the slide, upbeat tone of voice, and so on, but sometimes I feel like I have the opposite problem; I can give off an “eccentric professor” vibe and I do sound like I lack confidence (“Oh, wait, hang on! I’ve just remembered this other really fascinating tangent, let’s back up a bit!!!”), and it is the opposite of polished! It’s not even nerves; it’s just how I talk sometimes, no matter how relaxed I am, but I need to be able to turn that off and project confidence and authority.
Does anyone have any tips or resources, or is it just a skill I’ll learn as I do it more often?
Readers, what advice do you have? (I’m especially interested in this myself; I come across as pretty informal, which I generally think is just fine, but it wouldn’t hurt to be able to impersonate someone more polished at times.)