Engineers need to talk. Not only talk, but more often than not, speak publicly. There’s a fine line that separates a mere conversation to a presentation delivery. Both skills are required for engineers to master, with the latter a lot more challenging to do.
It is quite understandable that speaking in front of a crowd isn’t the strongest suit of engineers. For the extroverted ones this isn’t so much of a problem; but engineers tend to be more introverted. This disallows them to convey a message properly when there are a lot of people around. And that is career suicide when you are faced upon a panel or an audience to give a presentation.
But just like any skill, giving presentations can be learned. These six tips are valuable the next time you are asked to speak in public:
Engineers can connect more if they know how much the audience knows about the particular subject. It enables you to talk with the right amount of simplicity and pace, which makes the discussion more appealing. You have to know what kind of learners your participants are by gathering their work experience, interests, and even age.
Engage your audience
It might be difficult once you let your audience be involved with your presentation, like when they raise questions in between slides, but that’s your goal: explain to them what they could gain from your presentation. After all that’s what you are in it for, right? You can ease the engagement by making the presentation a little personal. Try sharing out of your experiences so they could also relate and participate, with you being a lot more comfortable.
An effective speaker is a good and active listener. As you go on, have a feel of how your audience responds to your presentation, other than taking note of their verbal responses. Do they yawn? Do they doodle your presentation away? Are they too silent or too noisy? It also takes non-literal listening to become an effective speaker. Adjust when necessary.
Go easy on the text
As much as possible, avoid slides that contain tons of text you are going to say out loud anyway. It only compromises the effectiveness of your slide and disables your audience to listen to you. Make the audience concentrate on what you say rather than what they can read on the slide. More importantly, in presentations, less is almost always more.
Check on your body language
Sometimes, it is about now what you say but what you do that the audience notices. Do not wag your hands too much that it is already distracting to the participants. Do not make unnecessary gestures. Maintain eye contact with them to keep get that immediate bond.
Practice, practice, practice
Delivering killer presentations is mostly about before delivering the killer presentations. Practice! You may have gotten your presentation word by word in your memory, but without having to take a dry run with it, your tongue might just get twisted on stage. You cannot afford that, can you? Perhaps you can even record your practice and pinpoint on areas that need changes or improvement.