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Presentation Skills: How to avoid reading your presentation


One of the most common presenting mistakes is people reading from their notes – usually with their head down and rushing to get through them as quickly as possible! This happens when people are not confident enough to talk around their business presentation and are worried about getting it wrong.

Depending on what type of presentation you are giving, often having a few  notes to refer to is acceptable. If not, use this same presentation skills technique then just learn it well enough to not need the notes on the day!  Here’s my simple technique that works well across all learning styles and in conjunction with the 4MAT system outlined in my book and training sessions:

  • Write no more than 3 key points on each index card, no more than 2 words per point
  • Accompany each key point with a visual that reminds you of that point
  • Number each index card in case you drop them so you can quickly reorder
  • First practice with the cards, learning each card and knowing where each card is in the bigger picture
  • Then as you get more confident turn the cards face down and practice without using them
  • If you get a little stuck on one or two elements on the cards just practice those
  • Trust you know your speech, with a little help from the cards to keep you on track

When you’re speaking, leave the cards to one side – perhaps near a glass of water. You can review your notes quickly and easily if you need to, whilst taking a sip of water. The likelihood is, once you get going, you can probably do your presentation without them.

The benefit of using this method is that it allows your personality to come into play. Delivering a structured and professional presentation with a conversational and friendly tone is a winning combination.  Most people don’t know how to practice their presentations effectively, and either over or under prepare – read the Techniques for Presentation Practice Blog for presentation practice tips.

Simply Amazing Training offers professional presentation skills training courses for companies.  Have a look at our Guide to our most popular training courses and presentation skills workshops or call me today for a chat to discuss; we recognise that all of our clients are different and have different needs when it comes to their in house company training courses.

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