Excerpted from Presentation Tools: An SEO’s New Best Friend?:
“…If it feels like your presentation skills aren’t up to snuff, supportive organizations can help (i.e., Toastmasters). Some of main points you’ll learn from a presentation program are to:
- Practice, practice, practice: With practice you gain confidence. This doesn’t mean that you can’t adjust your presentation on the fly, but as long as you keep close to your prepared speech you’ll be able to stay on message.
- Tell your story in a sequential fashion: Have a beginning, middle, and end. It’s amazing how many presentations just peter out somewhere in the middle, and don’t remind the audience of key points or takeaways at the end of the presentation.
- Know your topic inside and out: Chances are you’re going to get asked questions. If you know your topic, that shouldn’t be a problem, but if you don’t…
- Be prepared for a change to your schedule: One client presentation I gave was only eight slides long, but close to the end of the two-hour meeting, we were only on the second slide. The client had lots of questions that went off on different tangents, all related to the project.
- Know your audience: Tailor your speech to their expectations and level. A presentation on the benefits of SEO to a group of executives may focus on the traffic and ROIopportunities, whereas a presentation to a group of writers will focus on basics or tools to use.
- Be confident and feel confident when speaking: You’re the subject matter expert, so why shouldn’t you be confident? As you display that confidence it makes your audience fall in step with you, trust you more, and listen more attentively.
- Listen and watch other presenters: Watch how others present topics, see how they use their voice, their body language, facial expressions, eye contact, hand gestures, etc., and adopt those that work as naturally as possible for you.
- Seek feedback and identify your weak areas: If you have crutch words (e.g., “OK,” “aaand,” “erm,” “soooo”), work to eliminate them from your vocabulary.
- Don’t apologize: If you mess up, take a deep breath and just pick up from where you left off.
- Don’t make it up: If someone asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, admit that you need to find out the answer and get back to them.
- Use visual aids if it makes sense: Not all presentations have to use PowerPoint…”