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22 Presentation Skills (The Big List)

        posted by , December 13, 2012

Why do some people almost always give first-rate presentations while others seem to struggle?

The main reason is that "presentation skills" is plural. It takes dozens of skills to be a good public speaker. These include:

1. Verbal Communication

The ability to communicate in a clear, concise and concrete way in front of an audience is the key skill required of public speakers.

2. Delivery

Delivery is how you connect with your audience. It includes techniques such as body language and pauses that give your words punch.

3. Leadership

The ability to establish yourself as the leader of your audience.

4. Selling / Persuasion

A presentation is all about selling your ideas using persuasion techniques.

5. Humor

Lighthearted presentations are almost always best. You don't have to be a stand-up comedian but the ability to deliver light humor works wonders on an audience.

6. Storytelling

The ability to tell a griping story.

7. Written and Visual Communication

Your visual elements such as slides should be brief, clear and visually effective.

8. Self Awareness

Know your strengths and weaknesses and lead with your strengths.

9. Emotion Management

Presentations can be emotional experiences. For one thing, 3 out of 4 people are have a fear of public speaking. The ability to control emotions is also important to handle unexpected events such as rejection (e.g. a heckler).

10. Adaptability

No matter how much you prepare it's possible for your presentation to go off in an unexpected direction — especially if you involve your audience. The ability to adapt is an important presentation survival skill.

11. Listening

Active listening is key to leading audience participation.

12. Facilitating

The ability to lead workshops, conversations and issue resolution activities.

13. Networking Skills

If you're speaking at a conference it's important to network before your presentation. Incorporate what you learn from networking into your talk.

14. Interpersonal Relationships

The ability to establish rapport with an audience is closely related to your ability to establish and manage relationships with people. Legendary orators (e.g. Bill Clinton) have the ability to make each member of the audience feel as if they are speaking directly to them.

15. Dealing with Difficult Personalities

The ability to deal with audience participation challenges.

16. Stress Management

Many people find presentations to be a stressful experience. Even if you're comfortable with presentations, a stressful experience can always pop up when you're in front of an audience. The ability to manage stress and deliver under pressure is important.

17. Taking Criticism / Resilience

The ability to bounce back from criticism and failure is common amongst accomplished public speakers.

18. Problem Solving

The best presentations solve problems for the audience. You may also be asked to solve a problem as part of audience participation.

19. Research

The ability to find statistics, facts, examples and stories that support your message.

20. Organization and Time Management

Giving your presentation an organized flow that fits into time constraints.

21. Gestures / Using 3d Space

Physical communication including effective use of the stage and gestures.

22. Showmanship

Good public speakers do more than inform — they entertain.

This is the 5th installment in the 9-part series of posts called How to Give Magnetic Presentations.

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