16 Feb, 2016
CPD Presentation Skills and Training
Personal presentations skills and the training one should undertake are key elements for delivering effective CPD, but having the confidence and capability to give good presentations, and to stand up in front of an audience does not come naturally to everyone. Good presentation skills training can be taken on and developed easily, and once you have the basic proficiency to speak confidently in public, delivery of your CPD presentations from sufficient training will become easier each time to undertake a presentation. Found below is some simple advice that can help when getting ready to deliver your CPD presentations.
1. Understand your fear
Everyone gets scared of speaking in public, you are not alone. Managing your fear is the first step. Most public speaking fears relate to a lack of confidence, lack of control, or a fear of uncertainty or the unknown. The best way to reduce your fears is in preparation. Prepare, practice, and then practice again. Familiarise yourself with the presentation, get used to the sequence of the slides, trial your introductory speech and your closing remarks. Makes notes on what went well, what can be improved, then rehearse again. Familiarisation with your presentation can significantly reduce your concerns and calm your nerves.
2. Stress is normal
Standing up in front of a room of people can be stressful, whether you are a novice or an expert. You want to impress and represent your organisation professionally. It’s a lot to worry about if you let yourself worry about it. Stress can stop you focusing on what you need to focus on, so don’t. Remember your audience is not your enemy and they do not expect you to be perfect. They expect you to be human, to be helpful, informative and to try your hardest. Most of your audience will be on your side because they would rather it was you than them!
3. You are in charge
Many people new to presenting do not realise that they have control and can often be too appeasing or even subservient to delegates. In almost all circumstances your audience is in a passive state of learning, waiting to be led by you. Training attendees are very accepting of an authoritative direction, and controlling the environment builds confidence in your expertise. Presentation skills training will help you to learn ways to control your breathing, hold a room full of people listening, and teach you to take confidence in your abilities. You are in charge.
4. Make an impact
Do not wait too long to get to the main message of your presentation. Attention spans can be short if your audience is not interested, but attention spans grow with interest. Good case studies, stories and examples will engage your audience. Put impact information early into your presentation, keep it succinct and help them relate to the subject. Often opening the presentation into a discussion can help you to feel more relaxed and this technique is one that can be practised on through a presentation skills course. Accepting you already have the presentation skills to deliver a confident presentation will be half of the battle.
5. No need to apologise
Apologising for minor errors and irrelevant factors does, unfortunately, display a lack of confidence and control when presenting. Only apologise if there has been a more serious error. Alternatively, make minor errors humorous and entertaining. This can lighten the mood if required and relax the environment. It is normal to make mistakes. A positive and comfortable learning environment is more important than being perfect.
6. Relax and enjoy
When undertaking any form of presentation skills training, start with the basics. Learn to handle your behaviour patterns when in a nervous state and unfamiliar environment. Becoming one with the technology you’ll be using will help you to become more relaxed. Whilst the subject matter may be of serious content and nature, the training you’re delivering does not have to be too formal and boring. A good presentation is ideally entertaining in parts and an enjoyable experience. Again, slow your breathing down, take your time and smile. Have a glass of water to hand in case your mouth is dry. It may sound obvious, but it is easy to forget these things when you are concentrating on making sure everything else is going correctly. Relaxing and smiling shows confidence, and your audience will naturally relax with you.
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