Excellent presenting and public speaking skills require time and practice.
In this blog, we explore 3 approaches you can take to practice and identify your development points when it comes to presenting.
1. Record yourself (Improvement rating: slightly effective)
Hate practicing your presenting in front of others? The good news is that you can improve on your own.
Take your phone and record yourself as if giving a presentation. It can be on any topic. Keep it to 2-3 minutes max.
Now, listen back and mark / self-evaluate yourself on the following two areas.
- Content (what you say). How well structured is the presentation? Is it easy to follow? Do you use simple language? Do you use a narrative and story to guide your listener? What about your rhetorical techniques?
- Vocal delivery (how you say it). What is your pace like? Do you use pauses enough? Are you monotone, or engaging in terms of tone? How many fillers (erms/ums) do you use?
Take stock and practice again paying attention to your development areas.
2. Ask a trusted friend or colleague (Improvement rating: moderately effective)
Although recording yourself and running a self-evaluation can be helpful, you don't get the same objective view compared to if you asked someone else to listen to you. Chances are, you might miss something or not pick up on all your weaknesses.
A more robust approach is to ask someone you trust to watch you present a short speech and feedback on the above two areas (content and vocal delivery). Make sure they are happy to do this beforehand and schedule in a specific date and time for the session.
Ask them to also check your body language and the way you carry yourself too. Are you fumbling with your hands? Do you avoid eye-contact? How do you use the space?
This will provide a 360 view of your presenting skills, with clear development areas for you to focus on going forwards.
3. Find an expert (Improvement rating: very effective)
The best way you can improve is through practicing in a safe space with a public speaking and presenting coach. This will be the most objective, skilled and professional audience you can find.
Not only will they be able to identify your areas of weakness, they will also give you practical tips and advice to help you address them, therefore improving.
Work together with them on the main areas of development and arm yourself with specific techniques that can help you going forwards.
Even a one-off session with a coach can make the world of difference, especially when practicing for important presentations that you have coming up.
The bottom line
Whatever approach you take, it's clear that some practice is better than no practice at all. The result? Better presenting and public speaking skills in the longer term.
HelpMePresent is the tutoring of presenting. We offer 1-1, flexible, accessible sessions that can be easily booked, including packages specifically for women and international speakers. Click to book now.