Presentation Skills 101 For Fresh Grads
So you’ve finally made it through university but not only that, after a series of grueling interviews, you started a new job at a company you wanted to join! Things are pretty much going according to plan.
One morning though during your first couple of weeks, your manager passes by and informs you that you need to deliver a presentation next week on a certain topic as part of your onboarding assessment.
Delivering a presentation at work can be an intimidating proposition for someone who just got out of college. The good news is, it’s normal to feel nervous about it, we’ve all been there.
So we decided why not give you a basic guide to help you through that first presentation and get you off to a good start? Read on for the details.
Split your presentation into different parts
This helps you structure the flow of the message you want to deliver. The general rule is a 3-way split.
You’d want to start off with the “introduction” part during which you basically introduce yourself and the topic you are about to discuss.
Then comes the “body” part, which is the most important part of your presentation, it is during that part that you clearly communicate the message you want to deliver.
Finally, the “conclusion” part where you wrap up and end with a closing statement.
Know your audience
It is very important to identify the type of audience you’re addressing. Your approach to delivering your message will differ according to the type of crowd on the receiving end.
For example, you can afford to be informal when presenting to colleagues on your team but not when presenting to executive management.
Adjust your approach to fit your audience.
Don’t include extra information
It might feel that adding extra info may add value to your presentation, but it actually does the exact opposite. Extra information is unnecessary and there’s a good chance the audience will notice that.
This implies that you are not as knowledgeable on the topic you’re presenting as you should be, hence your failure to detect and eliminate needless content.
It also means the presentation will be longer than it needed to be and that’s never a good thing.
Visual Aid is key
By all means, avoid presentation slides that contain giant chunks of text. Chunks of text force the audience to choose between focusing on you or reading the text.
Always look to use diagrams, drawings, graphs…etc to complement the point you’re making. As opposed to the situation with chunks of text, audiences find it easy to listen to you and relate your words to visuals in front of them.
As a presenter, you should not be reading from the slide (which will be hard to avoid if your slide is mainly comprised of blocks of text), you should be adding value to what’s on it. This is made much easier if you use visual aid to help enhance your message delivery.
One of the classic ways to keep people interested in what you’re saying, is to structure it like a story.
As much as possible, turn it into a journey from “what is” to “what it could be”. It’s your way of delivering a message that is easy to grasp, remember and restate.
Structure your presentation in a way that a logical flow is maintained throughout.
- Maintain regular Eye Contact with your audience. Eye contact keeps the connection between presenter and audience alive.
- Be pleasant and approachable. A smile goes a long way.
- Invite and encourage interaction. Interaction ensures engagement with the audience is maintained.
- Rehearsal is key! You need to rehearse your presentation out loud. No, rehearsing in your head without talking does not count. Your tongue needs to physically get used to the words you’ll choose to use in order to have a smooth delivery.
- Quality of content. We are firm believers of the motto “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” but you still need to have something valuable to say. Invest in the value of content you are delivering.
- Having a deep understanding of your content. You will be expected to answer questions on the topic you are addressing, so make sure you are well-informed on the topic. That’s not to say you should be able to answer any question on the matter, it’s also perfectly ok to take note of the question and promise to research it and share the answer later.
And there you have it. If you apply the above or at least most of it, there’s a pretty good chance your manager will be happy with your first presentation.
We hope our small guide helps you during this early phase of your career journey. All best from everyone here at OLX, we’re rooting for you.